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Water Current Vortex off Coast of Cyprus

34.8N 33.0E

May 15th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Cyprus - May 13th, 2009

Cyprus - May 13th, 2009

Sun glint on the right side of the image makes it possible to observe a vortex swirling in the Mediterranean Sea, east of Cyprus. Water currents cannot usually be seen by the naked eye; however, the reflection of the sun off the surface may make them visible.

Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea after Sicily and Sardinia, has a large central plain (here, tan in color) with mountains to north and south. There are also scattered but significant plains along southern coast.

South of the central plain lie the Troodos Mountains, appearing here as a wide swath of dark green. The island’s highest point, Mount Olympus, is located in this range, at 1,951 meters above sea level.

The central plains may appear brown here due to Cyprus’s perennial drought problem. After 10 years of drought, the country received substantial rainfall from 2001-04, but since that time rainfall has once again been well below average, making water rationing a necessity.

Cyprus’s water resource problems are due to the fact that it has no natural reservoir catchments, seasonal disparity in rainfall, sea water intrusion to island’s largest aquifer and increased salination in the north. Water pollution from sewage and industrial wastes is also a problem.

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