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Why is the Aral Sea Shrinking and What Are The Effects?

The Aral sea is a sea in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and has been shrinking ever since the 1960s. There are two rivers that flow into the sea, the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya. What is so amazing is that something with that size has been able to shrink and have 75% less of the volume it had in 1960. The Aral sea shrinking has many effects on the surrounding countries. There is less clean water and the ground is very sandy and desert like. Overall the Aral sea shrinking is a bad thing for the local people and for the surrounding countries.

Why is the Aral Sea Shrinking?

The Aral Sea is shrinking because in 1960 they made a huge irrigation passage from both the rivers that flow into the Aral Sea. Those irrigation passages have taken a lot of the water from the rivers. Slowly less water got to the Aral sea from the rivers and those are the only sources of water the Aral sea has. By the 1980s the rivers basically dried up at the base before they reached the Aral sea. Then because no water got to the Aral sea, the water was slowly evaporating and that caused the Aral sea to shrink.

Ever since the Aral sea started to shrink the land around it has become very dry and salty. Also the climate has been affected by it. The summers are hotter and the winters are colder. The climate change affects how farmers can grow crops. It has also affected the fishing business. There are less fish in the Aral Sea than in the past and many fishermen have been put out of business. It has also affected the locals who live by the Aral sea because the water in the sea is too salty to drink. Locals have started to drink groundwater but a lot of that water is polluted by salt, sewage and toxic chemicals from farms.

In 1960 the surface of the Aral sea was 175 feet above the sea level and had an area of 26,300 square miles. In 1989 the Aral Sea shrunk and formed two separate parts, the "Greater Sea" in the south and the "Lesser Sea" in the north, both of the lakes saltiness was almost triple of the sea in the 1950s. By the end of the century the Aral sea had shrunk into three separate lakes: the Greater Sea had divided into a long, narrow western lake and a larger, broader eastern lake, with the remains of the Lesser Sea to the north.

So the Aral sea is shrinking, who cares? You should care because even if the Aral sea is not even close to you, the Aral sea is still a big problem. People who live nearby to it are losing their main supply of water, their main supply of fish, and partly their main supply of crops. The ground has gotten very bad for growing crops, the water is too salty to drink, and all the fish that lived there are probably dead because of the amount of salt in the sea. We need people to fix these problems before they get out of hand. In 1994 Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan established a committee to make efforts to save the Aral Sea. Looking back at that it is good that people are trying to help it but in the end they didnt do anything.

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4. "World of Change: Shrinking Aral Sea : Feature Articles." NASA Earth Observatory : Home. Web. 30 Apr. 2012. <>.