This image, just released from NASA’s Earth Observatory, is both scary and beautiful
This is – or was – the Aral Sea*. 50 years ago, it was a substantial body of water. Then, the rivers that fed it were diverted for irrigation, meaning that the amount of water flowing into the lake fell below the amount of water being lost by evaporation. As a result of this imbalance, the Aral Sea began to dry up, and is now but a shadow of its former self.
If you’re looking for a powerful illustration of how quickly – and visibly – human activity can change the face of the planet, look no further.
*even though, as my hydro-coblogger** would be quick to point out, it’s actually a lake (or not – see comments below).
**who will hopefully forgive me for invading her disciplinary territory.