The Aral Sea (Kazakh: Арал Теңізі Aral Teñizi; Uzbek: Orol Dengizi; Russian: Аральскοе Мοре Aral'skoye More; Tajik: 'Баҳри Арал Bakhri Aral; Persian: دریای خوارزم Daryâ-ye Khârazm) was a lake that lay between Kazakhstan (Aktobe and Kyzylorda provinces) in the north and Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region of Uzbekistan, in the south. The name roughly translates as "Sea of Islands", referring to more than 1,534 islands that once dotted its waters; in Old Turkic "aral" is island and thicket.
Formerly one of the four largest lakes in the world with an area of 68,000 square kilometres (26,300 sq mi), the Aral Sea has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet irrigation projects. By 2007, it had declined to 10% of its original size, splitting into four lakes – the North Aral Sea, the eastern and western basins of the once far larger South Aral Sea and one smaller lake between North and South Aral Seas. By 2009, the southeastern lake had disappeared and the southwestern lake retreated to a thin strip at the extreme west of the former southern sea. The maximum depth of the North Aral Sea is 42 m (138 ft) (as of 2008).
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 consequent serious public health problems. The retreat of the sea has reportedly also caused local climate change, with summers becoming hotter and drier, and winters colder and longer.
In an ongoing effort in Kazakhstan to save and replenish the North Aral Sea, a dam project was completed in 2005; in 2008, the water level in this lake had risen by 24 m (79 ft) from its lowest level in 2007. Salinity has dropped, and fish are again found in sufficient numbers for some fishing to be viable.
Other articles related to "aral sea, aral, sea":
... to explore and develop oil and gas fields in the Aral Sea, stating “The Aral Sea is largely unknown, but it holds a lot of promise in terms of finding oil and gas ...
... The plight of the Aral coast was portrayed in the 1989 film Psy ("Dogs") by Soviet director Dmitry Svetozarov ... film called Delta Blues about the problems arising from the drying up of the sea ...
... Water level of the North Aral has risen, and its salinity has decreased ... As of 2006, some recovery of sea level has been recorded, sooner than expected ... The dam has caused the small Aral's sea level to rise swiftly to 38m (125ft), from a low of less than 30m (98ft), with 42m (138ft) considered the level of viability ...
... was until 1973 an island in Kazakhstan, in the northern part of the Aral Sea ... Due to the shrinking of the Aral Sea, the island became connected to the mainland in the 1960s at its western end, and became the Kokaral Peninsula ... turning the peninsula into an isthmus separating the North Aral Sea and the South Aral Sea ...
... There is no doubt that the shrinking of the Aral Sea has resulted in health problems for the local community ... Some of the main reasons why the Aral sea area suffered greatly were from "over irrigation and water mismanagement." Environmental impacts resulting from the changes in the Aral Sea region that could affect human ... their way into the soils, water, and finally the Aral sea ...
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