Flamingos left when this lake dried up

Flamingos left when this lake dried up

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Lake Urmia

Lake Urmia

Lake Urmia, an inland salt lake in Iran has dried up fully this previous summer season and Iranians are blaming electrical vehicles for this environmental tragedy: “Flamingos received’t be visiting Iran anymore,” says Iranian activist Siavash Safavi who has been arrested in Iran for holding palms along with his girlfriend. He now lives in Canada and might speak freely in opposition to the regime with out getting arrested: “The mullahs in Iran have dried out Urmia Lake, the largest salt lake on this planet, in order that the Chinese can get lithium from the lake mattress.

“This regime is not only killing Iranians. It’s killing Iran.”

flamingos leave Lake Urmia in Iran

The Iranian Government denies that China is extracting lithium from the salt lake and says that the Chinese vehicles seen final month at Lake Urmia had been hauling out salt. Iranian watchdog journalists warn America that the Iranian regime is probably going mining sanctioned minerals that could possibly be used for nuclear enrichment.

Some of those minerals could embrace lithium that might be bought to China for electrical car batteries. As there isn’t any free press in Iran, and researchers are at risk in the event that they report the reality, we are able to’t know for sure.

Why has Lake Urmia dried up?

Experts in Iran, and at NASA, imagine that extreme and unlawful groundwater extraction and utilizing the water of the as soon as bountiful Zarrineh Rud − which feeds Urmia Lake − for irrigating their apple bushes have contributed to the lake shrinking by practically 95 p.c in quantity over the previous 20 years.

See a time lapse of Lake Urmia disappearing:

Lake Urmia salt for EVs

Lake Urmia mineral extraction for EVs or simply plain previous salt? Activists say that Iran is promoting lithium to China.

In 2015 Iran began a water switch to replenish Lake Urmia, and water could be seen returning to the lake in 2020. But by 2023 NASA had captured that Lake Urmia was fully dry.

Lake Urmia

Lake Urmia over time from 2000 to 2020.

Just a few years after a contemporary inflow of water raised its ranges, the big lake has practically gone dry and dried out fully in August 2023.

Lake Urmia was the largest lake within the Middle East and was one of many largest hypersaline lakes.

According to NASA the explanations are a number of. Consecutive droughts attributable to local weather change, agricultural water use, and dam development on rivers feeding into the lake have contributed to the decline.

A shrinking Lake Urmia has implications for ecological and human well being, says NASA: “The lake, its islands, and surrounding wetlands comprise useful habitat and are acknowledged as a UNESCO Biosphere ReserveRamsar site, and nationwide park. The space offers breeding grounds for waterbirds reminiscent of flamingos, white pelicans, and white-headed ducks, in addition to a stopover for migratory species.

“However, with low lake ranges, what water stays turns into extra saline and taxes the populations of brine shrimp and different meals sources for bigger animals.”

A shrinking lake additionally will increase the probability of mud from the uncovered lakebed turning into swept up by winds and degrading air high quality. And recent studies have linked the low water ranges in Lake Urmia with respiratory well being impacts among the many locals.

Some 25 years in the past, as many as 300,000 flamingos visited Lake Urmia feeding on small organisms reminiscent of Artemia that dwell within the lake. It can also be their breeding floor. In 2018 there were a reported 35,000 flamingos on the lake, and in 2023 there was a reported 10,000 flamingos returning. The decline of numbers within the final 25 years don’t look good.

Lake Urmia in 2020

Lake Urmia in 2020, NASA

On September 7, 2023, the OLI-2 (Operational Land Imager-2) on Landsat 9 captured this image (above) of the desiccated lakebed. It stands in contrast to the image from three years earlier, acquired by the OLI on Landsat 8 on September 8, 2020, when water filled most of the basin and salt deposits were only visible around the perimeter of the lake. The replenishment followed a period of above-average precipitation that sent a surge of freshwater into the basin, expanding its watery footprint. Drier conditions have since brought levels back down.

On September 7, 2023, the OLI-2 (Operational Land Imager-2) on Landsat 9 captured this picture (above) of the desiccated lakebed. It stands in distinction to the picture from three years earlier, acquired by the OLI on Landsat 8 on September 8, 2020, when water stuffed many of the basin and salt deposits had been solely seen across the perimeter of the lake. The replenishment adopted a interval of above-average precipitation that despatched a surge of freshwater into the basin, increasing its watery footprint. Drier situations have since introduced ranges again down.

More on Iranian water points:

Saltier than the Dead Sea, Lake Orumiyeh is in Trouble

Iran Lacks Water Planning

Iran’s water problems are worse than war