Source: Radio Zamaneh
Hassan Abbasnejad, the head of the Western Azerbaijan Province environment department, announced that the water levels in Lake Oroumieh have fallen by 40 percent.
Iran's Lake Oroumieh (also spelled Urmia) is the largest lake in the Middle East and the third largest saltwater lake on Earth. But dams on feeder streams, expanded use of ground water, and a decades-long drought have reduced it to 60 percent of the size it was in the 1980s. Light blue tones in the 2010 image represent shallow water and salt deposits. Increased salinity has led to an absence of fish and habitat for migratory waterfowl.
Images taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor aboard Landsat 5. Source: USGS Landsat Missions Gallery, U.S. Department of the Interior/U.S. Geological Survey. Image provided by NASA Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet.
Lake Oroumieh sattelite image - August 13, 2011
Current google earth view of Lake Oroumieh (capture date is unknown)
According to Google, most of the images are one to three years old.
According to ISNA, Abbasnejad said: "In the past 13 years, in addition to a significant decrease in precipitation, a change in the form of precipitation has also influenced the rapid rate of the Lake's drying."
Abbasnejad had said in his earlier reports that 85 percent of Lake Oroumieh's surface has dried up.
Some experts have pointed the finger at agricultural developments and irrigation projects in the region as a major culprit in the demise of the lake.
Related Article by Daily Mail, UK:
Iran's eco-disaster: One of the world's biggest salt-water lakes shrinks by 80% in ten years
- Lake Oroumieh has shrunk more than 80% to 1,000 square kilometers
- Experts fear the lake - famous as a tourist spot and a stopping point for migrating flamingos, pelicans and gulls - could disappear within two years
- Climate change, nearby farms using it for irrigation and the damming of rivers is being blamed for the shrinking
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