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Climate change threatens already volatile Urmia Lake (Iran)

ScienceDaily (April 22, 2016)

Climate change threatens already volatile Urmia Lake (Iran)

ScienceDaily (April 22, 2016)

The Urmia Lake used to be the second largest hypersaline lake in the world. The lake, located in the North-West of Iran near the Turkish border, is an important, internationally recognized natural area designated as a RAMSAR site and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It is a home to many species, among which a unique species of brine shrimp. Urmia basin supports a variety of agricultural production systems and activities as well as livestock.

The surface area of Urmia Lake has declined by 80% to the lowest recorded level over the last two decades. As a result, the salinity of the lake has sharply increased. This is disturbing the ecosystems, local agriculture and livelihoods, regional health, as well as tourism. The socio-environmental consequences are similar or even larger than those of the Aral Sea disaster. Thousands of people around the lake have already abandoned the area. It has been estimated that people living within 500 km2 of the lake’s location are at risk, which could amplify economic, political and ethnic tensions in this already volatile region. The lake is drying out because of a combination of factors. Over the past decades, agricultural area has tripled. This resulted in a high irrigation water demand, surface flow diversions and groundwater extraction. Efficient water management stayed behind. During the same period, a significant decrease in precipitation and an increasing trend in average maximum temperature took place.

Story Source  : Wageningen University and Research Centre

Pour en savoir plus (ScienceDaily)

Page publiée le 28 juillet 2016