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Earth Science

Aral Sea May Recover; Dead Sea Needs a Lifeline 131

An anonymous reader writes "It's a tale of two seas. The drying up of the Aral Sea is considered one of the greatest environmental catastrophes in history, but the northern sector of the sea, at least, is showing signs of life. A dam completed in 2005 has increased the North Aral's span by 20 percent, and birds, fish, and people are all returning to the area. Meanwhile, the Dead Sea is still in the midst of precipitous decline, since too much water is being drawn out of the Jordan River for thirsty populations and crops. To keep the sea from shrinking more, scientists are pushing an ambitious scheme called the 'Red-Dead conduit,' which would channel huge amounts of water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. However, the environmental consequences of such a project may be troubling."
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Aral Sea May Recover; Dead Sea Needs a Lifeline

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  • Re:If not us, who? (Score:3, Informative)

    by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Saturday April 24, 2010 @03:33AM (#31965362) Homepage
    Because any water taken from the sea will be saltwater, and though you could replenish the Dead Sea to some degree with it, you can't irrigate your fields with seawater. I don't understand how you don't already know that.
  • Re:If not us, who? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 24, 2010 @03:39AM (#31965390)

    Actually the Dead Sea contains very little life [].

  • by fhqwhgads ( 603131 ) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @04:04AM (#31965486)
    Saying that the Aral Sea might "recover" is slightly misleading. The North Aral Sea is about 5% of the size of the Aral Sea as a whole. It's like saying that the whole of the US sank into the ocean except for Wyoming and Utah, but it might recover.
  • Re:If not us, who? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mindcontrolled ( 1388007 ) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @04:27AM (#31965568)
    The bacteria in the Dead Sea are particularily interesting extremophiles, Haloarcula sp. [] is just an example. As a biochemist, I definitely view that as a resource worth preserving. Who knows what we can learn of such extremely adapted metabolisms?
  • So What, Seas Dry Up (Score:2, Informative)

    by Isaac-1 ( 233099 ) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @07:44AM (#31966190)

    Throughout the history of the world seas have dried up. Watch any nature documentary, particularly the ones touching on geology and you can't seem to go 5 minutes without someone saying something about some place being a dried up seabed.

  • youtube video (Score:5, Informative)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @08:26AM (#31966324) Homepage Journal

    This video [] shows the Aral sea disappearing. This blog [] has photos from the site as it was in 2008.

  • Re:If not us, who? (Score:3, Informative)

    by amabbi ( 570009 ) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @09:16AM (#31966536)

    So the question is, if they can channel 'huge' amounts of water from the Red Sea, why don't they use that for irrigation?

    That's what they're planning to do; they're going to desalinate the Red Sea to provide water to communities instead of using the Jordan River. What's left-over from the desalination process will be pumped into the Dead Sea to increase it's level. It's, you know, all in TFA.

  • Re:If not us, who? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 24, 2010 @11:07AM (#31967152)

    Well, it used to support tourist towns along its shore, but now those towns are miles from the sea, and the drop in water level has drained the water table and opened sinkholes all along the former seabed, keeping tourists from getting closer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 24, 2010 @03:06PM (#31968584)

    ... has not been established as a credible theory.

    Only for some interpretations of credible, all of which are politically based. There are questions about the size of the anthropogenic component, and significant questions about future consequences, but there are no serious scientific disputes about the existence of AGW.

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @04:34PM (#31969182)
    It is a devious tactic to attempt to discredit people who understand statistics well enough to ask valid and as yet unanswered questions about the data and models used by those who support the anthropogenic climate change theory by lumping them in with people who have their heads up their asses.

    When they are indistinguishable, why is that devious? A "real scientist" would say something like "the preponderance of the evidence points to it, so we should act like it's the Truth until proven otherwise." Then work to clarify points they have questions about.

    "We can't be sure, so we should act like it's false" is worthy of ridicule and is unrelated to whether it's a well founded objection to some statistical questions or because they gain materially from the raping of the environment, or just hate the environment.

    I believe that some portion of the current climate change is in fact anthropogenic, but I do not believe that any of the current models have established that. Happening to be right and having a proper model are two different things - a clock that is stopped is right twice a day, but I would not rely upon it to tell me the time.

    They probably didn't have "proof" the lake was disappearing until it was mostly gone. At that point, many people think that there's nothing that could be done to get it back. That's similar to many environmental issues. The "proof" is the irreversible loss of some part of the environment. Since it looks like AGW is more likely than not, working against it seems like working towards the extinction of the human race, as that is what it likely takes for "proof" in this, and there are plenty asking for "proof" before acting. That you claim to understand statistics, yet hold the views that are inconsistent with statistics (probability) and science. Just as a question, how many people have done a study that shows that AGW is impossible or that we are cooling, or that we are warming because of other factors (with those factors identified)? I've seen one or two that indicate we should go back to cooling in a few years because of sun activity. Other than that, the anti-AGW group has put out nothing other than hatchet jobs. So, when all the evidence points to one and only one conclusion, and the well-funded opposition can't find any other explanation, that seems like overwhelming evidence. What more do you need?
  • by Urkki ( 668283 ) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @04:45PM (#31969266)

    Oh well, just an "unintended consequence" of progress, like with global warming. !

    Please don't lump an obvious consequence of man's actions with one which is still in dispute. Anthropogenic global warming has not been established as a credible theory.

    Neither has anthropogenic drying up of Aral sea been proven. It could be just natural change that has nothing to do with human re-routing the water a bit on its way to the Aral... The water level there has changed previously, and it will change again, changes are part of the natural cycles of our planet. Just because it used to be in a communist country doesn't automatically mean any apparent "destruction" (which really is just change, not "destruction") was caused by the commies.


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