Image: Proba-V minisatellite images the dying Aral sea

May 29, 2014
Credit: ESA/VITO

Central Asia's receding Aral Sea, viewed by ESA's Proba-V minisatellite, which is about to take up the continuing operational task of tracking global vegetation.

For the last 16 years the Vegetation cameras on France's full-sized Spot-4 and Spot-5 satellites have been tracking on a global basis.

But on 1 June the torch will be passed to Proba-V, ensuring that the Vegetation dataset will remain available to across the world.

The Aral Sea is a striking example of the kind of changes the satellite series has been tracking. Once the world's fourth-largest inland water body, it has lost around 90% of its water volume since 1960 because of Soviet-era irrigation schemes.

The lake is located on the borders of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The World Bank and Kazakhstan worked together to build the Kok-Aral dike to stabilise the northern section of the Aral Sea.

The Aral Sea's southern section was beyond saving, however, and is projected to dry out completely by the end of this decade.

Acquired on 13 May 2014, the 300 m-resolution Proba-V image depicts the white salt terrain left behind by the southern Aral Sea receding, now called the Aral Karakum Desert. The greenery to the south is cultivated land irrigated by the Amu Darya river.

Explore further: NASA data find some hope for water in Aral Sea basin

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA data find some hope for water in Aral Sea basin

Feb 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —A new study using data from NASA satellite missions finds that, although the long-term water picture for the Aral Sea watershed in Central Asia remains bleak, short-term prospects are better ...

Syr Darya River Floodplain captured

Nov 02, 2010

Central Asia’s most important cotton-growing region is concentrated in the floodplain of the Syr Darya. The river was one of the farthest points reached by the ancient Greek leader Alexander of Macedon ...

Sharp-eyed Proba-V works around the clock

Feb 19, 2014

More than 5000 images, 65 daily global maps and six 10-day global syntheses, plus a quick peek at the Olympics: in its first two months of work, the vegetation-monitoring Proba-V minisatellite has yielded ...

NASA's Landsat satellite looks for a cloud-free view

May 22, 2013

For decades, Landsat satellites have documented the desiccation of the Aral Sea in Central Asia. Once one of the largest seas in the world, it shrunk to a tenth of its original volume after Russia diverted ...

Proba-V opens its eyes

May 20, 2013

(Phys.org) —Earth watcher Proba-V is in good health following its launch last week. The Vegetation imager has been switched on and the first image has been captured over western France.

Recommended for you

Tropical Storm Dolly forms, threatens Mexico

11 hours ago

Tropical Storm Dolly formed off Mexico's northeastern coast on Tuesday and headed toward landfall in Tamaulipas state, threatening to spark floods and mudslides, forecasters said.

Giant garbage patches help redefine ocean boundaries

13 hours ago

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an area of environmental concern between Hawaii and California where the ocean surface is marred by scattered pieces of plastic, which outweigh plankton in that part of ...

New satellite maps out Napa Valley earthquake

14 hours ago

Scientists have used a new Earth-observation satellite called Sentinel-1A to map the ground movements caused by the earthquake that shook up California's wine-producing Napa Valley on 24 August 2014.

User comments : 0