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Climate Change’s Effect on Glaciers Around Lake Issyk Kul, Kazakhstan

40.6N 79.6E

June 22nd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Deserts, Lakes VIIRSSuomi-NPP

Kazakhstan and China – June 21st, 2013

In the last 15 years, all of the 22 glaciers around Lake Issyk Kul (center, between Lake Balqash and the Taklamakan Desert), in Kazakhstan, have retreated. There are a number of reasons for the degradation of glaciation in Issyk Kul, but the increase in surface pollution and climate change are the main ones.

Both contribute to more intense melting and therefore degrade the mass balance of the glacier. The average yearly temperature in the glaciation zone has risen by 0.2ºC; summers are warmer by 0.6ºC, evidenced not only by melting rates but by a longer ablation period. This continued warming trend will accelerate glacial collapse and, most important, lead to a change in the water volume in the rivers the glaciers help to feed (click here for more information).

Taklamakan Desert and Lakes Issyk Kul, Balkhash and Alakol – September 26th, 2011

41.3N 79.5E

September 26th, 2011 Category: Deserts, Image of the day, Lakes, Mountains

China - September 7th, 2011

This image offers a stunning view of the Taklamakan Desert, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. It is bounded by the Kunlun Mountains to the south, and the Pamir Mountains and Tian Shan Mountains to the west and north.

Visible in the upper left quadrant are Lake Issyk Kul, dark blue, in Kyrgyzstan; part of Lake Balkhash, touching the left edge, in southeastern Kazakhstan; and Lake Alakol, just east of the former, also in Kazakhstan.

Taklamakan Desert and Lake Issyk Kul, China and Kyrgyzstan

40.2N 81.9E

June 29th, 2011 Category: Deserts, Lakes, Mountains

China and Kyrgyzstan - June 21st, 2011

The Taklamakan Desert stretches across an area of 270,000 km2 (100,000 sq mi) of the Tarim Basin, in China. It is roughly 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) long and 400 kilometres (250 mi) wide.

The desert is bounded by the Tian Shan Mountains to the north. Across these mountains lies Lake Issyk Kul, an endorheic lake in the northern part of the mountains, in eastern Kyrgyzstan.

Tian Shan Mountains Around Lake Issyk Kul, Kazakhstan

42.3N 77.2E

June 20th, 2011 Category: Lakes, Mountains

Kazakhstan - May 23rd, 2011

Lake Issyk Kul is an endorheic lake in the northern Tian Shan mountains in eastern Kyrgyzstan. Here, the mountains surrounding it are capped in snow, although the lake itself never freezes even in the coldest temperatures.

It is the tenth largest lake in the world by volume and the second largest saline lake after the Caspian Sea. The lake is a Ramsar site of globally significant biodiversity and forms part of the Issyk-Kul Biosphere Reserve.

Intense Blue of Lake Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan – February 2nd, 2011

42.4N 77.2E

February 2nd, 2011 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Mountains

Kyrgyzstan - January 16th, 2011

Although Lake Issyk Kul, in eastern Kyrgyzstan, is surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Tian Shan mountains, it never freezes. This explains its name, which means “hot lake” in the Kyrgyz language. The white spot in the center of the lake is a  mere patch of clouds.

Here, the lake’s intense blue contrasts with the snow flanking its eastern shores. Some sediments can be seen by the snow on the far eastern end. The shores along the western half of the lake are snow-free.