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Aral Sea,
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

In 1960, the surface of the Aral Sea covered 68,000 km², making it the fourth largest inland sea in the world. The partial diversion of the two great rivers that feed the Aral Sea in order to irrigate vast tracts of cotton cultivation has led to the drying up of the sea. Today it has lost more than half of its area and three-quarters of its volume.
The drying up of the sea has turned the region into a vast desert, leading to a change in climate. The area now suffers much greater extremes of temperature, varying between -50° to +50°C, with disastrous consequences for the region’s ecology and economy and for the health and well-being of local people.

Approx area depicted: 215,000 km2
Date of image: 2020

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