Shocking Nasa pictures show how the fourth largest lake in the world has become almost completely dry

Boats on a dry Aral Sea
Boats on a dry Aral Sea

NASA’s Terra satellite documented the slowly shrinking Aral Sea over the course of the past fourteen years starting in 2000.

Shocking NASA pictures show Aral Sea dry
Shocking NASA pictures show Aral Sea dry

The Aral Sea in Central Asia used to be the fourth largest land locked body of water in the world with its tributary rivers the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya. After being irrigated and diminished by drought, the eastern basin of the Southern Sea has dried up for the first time in an estimated 600 years.

NASA’s Terra satellite documented the slowly shrinking sea over the course of the past fourteen years starting in 2000.

The shrinking of the Aral Sea has been called “one of the planet’s worst environmental disasters”.
The region’s once prosperous fishing industry has been essentially destroyed, bringing unemployment and economic hardship. The Aral Sea region is also heavily polluted, with consequent serious public health problems. The retreat of the sea has reportedly also caused local climate change, with summers becoming hotter and drier, and winters colder and longer. Put together for the MSc in Environmental Technology.

Explorer/adventurer George Kourounis visits the Aral Sea in western Uzbekistan where wasteful irrigation practices by the former Soviet Union have drained most of the water, creating a vast ecological disaster. Rusting fishing boats lie in the desert sands that used to be rich fishing grounds.

Filmed as part of the Angry Planet TV series.