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Posted Sun Jul 12 2009: from European Space Agency via ScienceDaily:
Declining Aral Sea: Satellite Images Highlight Dramatic Retreat
New Envisat images highlight the dramatic retreat of the Aral Sea's shoreline from 2006 to 2009. The Aral Sea was once the world's fourth-largest inland body of water, but it has been steadily shrinking over the past 50 years since the rivers that fed it were diverted for irrigation projects. As the Aral Sea evaporated, it left behind a 40 000 sq km zone of dry, white salt terrain now called the Aral Karakum Desert. Each year violent sandstorms pick up at least 150 000 tonnes of salt and sand from the Aral Karakum and transport it across hundreds of km, causing severe health problems for the local population and making regional winters colder and summers hotter. In an attempt to mitigate these effects, vegetation that thrives in dry, saline conditions is being planted in the former seabed.
[Read more stories about: climate impacts, economic myopia, ecosystem interrelationships, water issues]

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'Doc Michael says:
This "salt and sand" stuff makes me parched!

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