The Shrinking Aral Sea

The Aral Sea, located in Uzbekistan and Kazakstan (both countries were part of the former Soviet Union), is historically a saline lake. It is in the center of a large, flat desert basin. The Aral Sea is a prime example of an dynamic environment.

Since 1960, when the Aral Sea was the world's fourth largest lake, the Aral Sea has lost 75% of its water volume. This loss is due to the agricultural diversion of the Syr Darya and Amu Darya rivers, the Aral's main sources of inflowing water. The Aral Sea is bounded by Kazakhstan on the north and Uzbekistan on the south.

The decrease in water level has led to severe environmental and salt problems which have changed the climate around the sea, resulted in dust storms that spread disease, and the deaths of many species in the salty lake.