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Aral Sea syndrome desiccates Lake Urmia: Call for action

AghaKouchak, Amir; Norouzi, Hamid; Madani, Kaveh LU ; Mirchi, Ali; Azarderakhsh, Marzi; Nazemi, Ali; Nasrollahi, Nasrin; Farahmand, Alireza; Mehran, Ali and Hasanzadeh, Elmira (2014) In Journal of Great Lakes Research
Abstract
Lake Urmia, one of the largest saltwater lakes on earth and a highly endangered ecosystem, is on the brink of a major environmental disaster similar to the catastrophic death of the Aral Sea. With a new composite of multi-spectral high resolution satellite observations, we show that the area of this Iranian lake has decreased by around 88% in the past decades, far more than previously reported (~ 25% to 50%). The lake's shoreline has been receding severely with no sign of recovery, which has been partly blamed on prolonged droughts. We use the lake basin's satellite-based gauge-adjusted climate record of the Standardized Precipitation Index data to demonstrate that the on-going shoreline retreat is not solely an artifact of prolonged... (More)
Lake Urmia, one of the largest saltwater lakes on earth and a highly endangered ecosystem, is on the brink of a major environmental disaster similar to the catastrophic death of the Aral Sea. With a new composite of multi-spectral high resolution satellite observations, we show that the area of this Iranian lake has decreased by around 88% in the past decades, far more than previously reported (~ 25% to 50%). The lake's shoreline has been receding severely with no sign of recovery, which has been partly blamed on prolonged droughts. We use the lake basin's satellite-based gauge-adjusted climate record of the Standardized Precipitation Index data to demonstrate that the on-going shoreline retreat is not solely an artifact of prolonged droughts alone. Drastic changes to lake health are primarily consequences of aggressive regional water resources development plans, intensive agricultural activities, anthropogenic changes to the system, and upstream competition over water. This commentary is a call for action to both develop sustainable restoration ideas and to put new visions and strategies into practice before Lake Urmia falls victim to the Aral Sea syndrome. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Lake Urmia, Drought, Water management, Desiccation
in
Journal of Great Lakes Research
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:84923561730
ISSN
0380-1330
DOI
10.1016/j.jglr.2014.12.007
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
7fc1f70f-95ab-4c8c-a94a-91e6b2631902 (old id 5042481)
alternative location
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0380133014002688
date added to LUP
2015-02-04 08:30:23
date last changed
2017-11-19 03:54:01
@article{7fc1f70f-95ab-4c8c-a94a-91e6b2631902,
  abstract     = {Lake Urmia, one of the largest saltwater lakes on earth and a highly endangered ecosystem, is on the brink of a major environmental disaster similar to the catastrophic death of the Aral Sea. With a new composite of multi-spectral high resolution satellite observations, we show that the area of this Iranian lake has decreased by around 88% in the past decades, far more than previously reported (~ 25% to 50%). The lake's shoreline has been receding severely with no sign of recovery, which has been partly blamed on prolonged droughts. We use the lake basin's satellite-based gauge-adjusted climate record of the Standardized Precipitation Index data to demonstrate that the on-going shoreline retreat is not solely an artifact of prolonged droughts alone. Drastic changes to lake health are primarily consequences of aggressive regional water resources development plans, intensive agricultural activities, anthropogenic changes to the system, and upstream competition over water. This commentary is a call for action to both develop sustainable restoration ideas and to put new visions and strategies into practice before Lake Urmia falls victim to the Aral Sea syndrome.},
  author       = {AghaKouchak, Amir and Norouzi, Hamid and Madani, Kaveh and Mirchi, Ali and Azarderakhsh, Marzi and Nazemi, Ali and Nasrollahi, Nasrin and Farahmand, Alireza and Mehran, Ali and Hasanzadeh, Elmira},
  issn         = {0380-1330},
  keyword      = {Lake Urmia,Drought,Water management,Desiccation},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Journal of Great Lakes Research},
  title        = {Aral Sea syndrome desiccates Lake Urmia: Call for action},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jglr.2014.12.007},
  year         = {2014},
}