The Aral Sea

The Aral Sea is a shallow lake in central Asia. The north part is in Kazakstan, and the southern part is in Uzbekistan. The below image from NASA illustrates the change to the Aral Sea between 1989 and 2014.

Aral Sea shrinking NASA. Collage by Producercunningham.

I’ve noticed recently that there are articles about the Aral Sea making a comeback. However, when looking at current satellite data, the comeback is not discernible, and so I have not actually been able to tell what the articles mean by the recovery of the Aral Sea. So I made my own graphic to show what writers are talking about when they are talking about the Sea’s return.

Aral Sea recovery

I made this graphic using available images from the Environmental Justice Atlas website. The graphic helped me orient understand that when people talk about the Aral Sea recovering, they are talking about the North Aral Sea recovering. The North Aral Sea, as seen in the graphic, is in Kazakstan, and has been recovered and is recovering because of a dam that was constructed across a narrow channel that had connected the North Aral Sea to the South. The South Aral Sea is still almost completely gone, and will most likely stay gone. Uzbekistan currently has no plans on trying to recreate it.

Hopefully this has helped you understand a little bit more about the destruction of the South Aral Sea and the preservation of the North Aral Sea.