Lake Urmia 2000–2013

Lake Urmia, a salt lake in northwestern Iran, has been home to human settlements since the Stone Age. Currently, the watershed of the lake is an important agricultural region, supporting a population of over 6 million people.

Changes in inflow, caused by diversion of surface water for upstream use, along with the construction of dams and decreased precipitation, have caused the lake to shrink considerably, as can be seen in these images acquired by Landsat 5 in 2000 and Landsat 8 in 2013. Lighter blue colors indicate shallower water.

The vast archive of Landsat imagery provides over 40 years of data and allows scientists, researchers, and decision makers to determine the best course of action for the lake’s future.

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Friday, July 5, 2013