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Archive for Deserts

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).

Lake Balkhash and Climate Change’s Effects on Lakes in Central Asia – June 11th, 2013

42.8N 81.3E

June 11th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Deserts, Image of the day, Lakes VIIRSSuomi-NPP

Kazakhstan and China – June 10th, 2013

Lakes in arid regions of Central Asia, such as Lake Balkhash, in Kazakhstan (upper left), northwest of China’s Taklamakan Desert (below), act as essential components of regional water cycles, providing sparse but valuable water resource for the fragile ecological environments and human lives.

Lakes in Central Asia are sensitive to climate change and human activities, and great changes have been found since 1960s. Mapping and monitoring these inland lakes can improve our understanding of mechanism of lake dynamics and climatic impacts. Satellite altimetry provides an efficient tool of continuously measuring lake levels in these poorly surveyed remote areas.

Scientists have shown that alpine lakes are increasing greatly in lake levels during 2003-2009 due to climate change, while open lakes with dams and plain endorheic lakes decrease dramatically in water levels due to human activities, which reveals the overexploitation of water resource in Central Asia (click here for more information).

Haruj Volcanic Field Surrounded by Libyan Desert

27.1N 17.4E

June 1st, 2013 Category: Deserts, Volcanoes

Libya – May 30th, 2013

Visible as a dark brown circular area south of the Gulf of Sidra is the Haruj, a large volcanic field spread across 45,000 km2 (17,000 sq mi) in central Libya. It contains about 150 volcanoes, including numerous basaltic scoria cones and about 30 small shield volcanoes, along with craters and lava flows.

Dust Over China, India and Pakistan

35.6N 74.3E

May 21st, 2013 Category: Deserts, Dust Storms, Mountains

China – May 20th, 2013

Airborne dust can be seen along the northern and southern rims of the Taklamakan Desert (above). Across the Himalayas to the southwest, haze, possibly a combination of dust and smoke, can be seen as well as over northern Pakistan and India (lower left quadrant).

Dust Transport from Badain Jaran and Tengger Deserts, China

44.6N 110.0E

April 25th, 2013 Category: Deserts

China – April 25th, 2013

The Badain Jaran (above) and Tengger (below) are two interconnected deserts in eastern China. Three global wind systems interact at Badain Jaran and Tengger Shamo: the southeast monsoon, the northwest monsoon, and the westerlies. Hence, the sand and sediments in the two deserts are major sources of dust transport over Central Asia and northern China.

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