ARAL SEA Damned Lake to Die and Rise from his own Ashes

ARAL SEA Damned Lake to Die and Rise from his own Ashes?

The Aral Sea is situated in Central Asia, between the Southern part of Kazakhstan and Northern Uzbekistan. Up until the third quarter of the 20th century, it was the world’s fourth-largest saline lake and contained 10grams of salt per litre. The two rivers that feed it are the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers, respectively reaching the Sea through the South and the North.
Aral
The Aral Sea is an endorheic lake lying between Kazakhstan (Aktobe and Kyzylorda Regions) in the north and Uzbekistan (Karakalpakstan autonomous region) in the south. The name roughly translates as “Sea of Islands”, referring to over 1,100 islands that once dotted its waters; in the Turkic languages aral means “island, archipelago”. The Aral Sea drainage basin encompasses Uzbekistan and parts of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

In the 1960s, the Soviet Union undertook a major water diversion project on the arid plains of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. The region’s two major rivers, fed by snowmelt and precipitation in faraway mountains, were used to transform the desert into farms for cotton and other crops. Before the project, the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya rivers flowed down from the mountains, cut northwest through the Kyzylkum Desert, and finally pooled together in the lowest part of the basin. The lake they made, the Aral Sea, was once the fourth largest in the world.

Aral
Actually a freshwater lake, the Aral Sea once had a surface area of 26,000 square miles (67,300 square kilometres). It had long been ringed with prosperous towns and supported a lucrative muskrat pelt industry and thriving fishery, providing 40,000 jobs and supplying the Soviet Union with a sixth of its fish catch.

Its name roughly translates as “Sea of Islands” in reference to the over one thousand islands that one dotted its waters – but no more. The two main rivers that feed the Aral Sea are the Amu Darya (also known as the Oxus), which rises in the Hindu Kush and flows (or, rather, used to flow) is at the south end and the smaller Syr Darya, which arises in the Tien Shan Mountains and flows in at the north end.

Aral
The Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, flow into the Aral Sea and form the Aral Sea Basin. The basin comprises southern Kazakhstan, most of Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, practically the whole of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as the northern part of Afghanistan and a small portion of Iran. The Amu Darya has an average annual water flow of 74 km³, making it Central Asia’s mightiest river. Its origins are the rivers Panj and Vakhsh in Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

The sea lies in what is known as an endorheic basin, meaning that it has no outflows and so maintains its size by balancing inflows (river, groundwater, and direct precipitation) with evaporation, making it particularly vulnerable to river diversion. 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 consequential serious public health problems.

Aral – Naval history

Russian naval presence on the Aral Sea started in 1847, with the founding of Raimsk, which was soon renamed Fort Aralsk, near the mouth of the Syr Darya. Soon, the Imperial Russian Navy started deploying its vessels on the sea. Owing to the Aral Sea basin not being connected to other bodies of water, the vessels had to be disassembled in Orenburg on the Ural River, shipped overland to Aralsk (presumably by a camel caravan), and then reassembled. The first two ships, assembled in 1847, were the two-masted schooners named Nikolai and Mikhail. The former was a warship; the latter was a merchant vessel meant to serve the establishment of the fisheries on the great lake. In 1848, these two vessels surveyed the northern part of the sea. In the same year, a larger warship, the Constantine, was assembled. Commanded by Lt. Alexey Butakov (Алексей Бутаков), the Constantine completed the survey of the entire Aral Sea over the next two years.The exiled Ukrainian poet and painter Taras Shevchenko participated in the expedition, and painted a number of sketches of the Aral Sea coast. Wikipedia

Aral
During the Russian Civil War (1917-1923), the Soviets briefly maintained a fleet of warships to combat Tsarist and British troops in the area. But with the Red victory, the need for a fleet evaporated. And, later, so did the sea on which it had sailed.

Level of salinity rose from approximately 10g/l to often more than 100g/l in the remaining Southern Aral. The salinity of the rivers varies with place and time, as well as through the seasons. When going through the desert, rivers often collect some salt compounds residues in the ground that result in higher salinity, but may well be lowered again after going through irrigated lands. Dams also affect salinity, notably by reducing its variability with the seasons. Smaller lakes within the Aral Sea that have stopped being fed by river flows tend to have higher salinity due to evaporation, causing some or all fishes that either survived or had been reintroduced in the 1990s to die. Even re-watering those lakes does not compensate for the increased salinity over the years. In 1998, the water level was down by 20m, with a total volume of 210km3 compared to 1,060km3 in 1960.

By the early 2000s, the absolute water level in the sea went down to 31 m, which is 22 m lower than the initial level recorded in the late 1950s. In 2001, the South (Large) the Aral Sea was divided into western and eastern parts. In 2003, the surface area of the Aral Sea was about a quarter of the original, and the volume of seawater was about 10%. Today, instead of the former deep sea, there is new sand and saline Aralkum desert with a total area of 38 000 km².

Aral
Aral Sea

In 2005, a World Bank-funded dam and restoration project began in Kazakhstan with the goal of improving the health of the Syr Darya and increasing the flow into the North Aral Sea. Since then

The Aral Sea is situated in Central Asia, between the Southern part of Kazakhstan and Northern Uzbekistan. Up until the third quarter of the 20th century, it was the world’s fourth-largest saline lake and contained 10grams of salt per litre.

The two rivers that feed it are the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers, respectively reaching the Sea through the South and the North. In the 1960s, the Soviet Union undertook a major water diversion project on the arid plains of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

The region’s two major rivers, fed by snowmelt and precipitation in faraway mountains, were used to transform the desert into farms for cotton and other crops.

Before the project, the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya rivers flowed down from the mountains, cut northwest through the Kyzylkum Desert, and finally pooled together in the lowest part of the basin. The lake they made, the Aral Sea, was once the fourth largest in the world.

Can the Aral Sea be saved?

When the Aral Sea storey broke across the world, the Washington Post wrote, “Saving the Aral is a now-or-never endeavour.” The Germans rushed to provide funds for a small biological station in Muynak to monitor changes in the Aral. The grim truth behind the Aral Sea crisis is that, while the situation calls for immediate succour, the solution would involve a long haul struggle.

As Michael Glantz of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado (USA) rightly observed, the Aral Sea crisis took 40 years in the making. Slow changes spread over a long time finally resulted in the mammoth set of problems that tilted the ecological balance of the region. Therefore, only “creeping environmental solutions” can help the Aral Sea crisis they, could well take another 40 years.

Can the Aral Sea wait for so long? As per the admission of a UNDP publication, “The Arctic Sea crisis has been brought about through long-term neglect, of both the rivers’ r. in supporting the ecology Can the Aral Sea be saved. When the Aral Sea storey broke across the world, the Washington Post wrote, “Saving the Aral is a now-or-never endeavour.” The Germans rushed to provide funds for a small biological station in Muynak to monitor changes in the Aral.

The grim truth behind the Aral Sea crisis is that, while the situation calls for immediate succour, the solution would involve a long haul struggle. As Michael Glantz of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado (USA) rightly observed, the Aral Sea crisis took 40 years in the making. Slow changes spread over a long time finally resulted in the mammoth set of problems that tilted the ecological balance of the region. Therefore, only “creeping environmental solutions” equilibrium of the sea basin the domestic needs of school term planning.

Therefore, only “creeping environmental solutions” equilibrium of the sea basin the domestic needs of school term planning. Who will tell the beleaguered million that this human-made crisis may now have gone beyond human redemption? Is the truth indeed the truth? That even Central Asia could once again free up its enslaved rivers, Aral Sea will probably never be the same again!

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