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  Image: Geographic Location Direction Photo #: ISS011-E-7865 Date: Jun. 2005
Geographic Region: KAZAKHSTAN

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  Retreating Aral Sea Coastlines

The arrow-shaped island in the Aral Sea (lower-right view, taken in 1988) used to be a 35-kilometer-long visual marker, indicating the Aral Sea to astronauts. An image from the present International Space Station increment (top) shows how much the coastline has changed as the sea level has dropped during the last three decades. Arrows indicate the northern shoreline of the original island. This 2005 image shows that the island is now part of the mainland. Deep blues and greens indicate the water-covered areas. The exposed sea floor is characterized by old shorelines (parallel lines surrounding the island) and outlines of ancient deltas. An intermediate stage in the falling sea level is documented in a view taken in 1996 (lower left), in which the island appears larger and elongated towards the eastern shore of the sea.

Since the 1960s, sea levels have dropped drastically as rivers that maintained the level of the Aral Sea were diverted--completely in later years--for agricultural purposes, especially for growing cotton. A thriving fishing industry in the world's then fourth-largest lake was largely eliminated as the area of the sea shrank by more than 60 percent. Salts and pesticides that accumulated from agricultural runoff were subsequently exposed on the dry parts of the sea floor. Winds now transport these pollutants into surrounding fields and towns. Although the Kazakhstan government made a concerted effort to increase river inflow into the sea starting in 2003, it will take years before sea levels begin to rise.

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Images: All Available Images Low-Resolution 217k
Mission: ISS011  
Roll - Frame: E - 7865
Geographical Name: KAZAKHSTAN  
Center Lat x Lon: 46.0N x 59.5E
Film Exposure:   N=Normal exposure, U=Under exposed, O=Over exposed, F=out of Focus
Percentage of Cloud Cover-CLDP: 10
Camera: E4
Camera Tilt: 35   LO=Low Oblique, HO=High Oblique, NV=Near Vertical
Camera Focal Length: 180  
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: SE   The direction from the nadir to the center point, N=North, S=South, E=East, W=West
Stereo?:   Y=Yes there is an adjacent picture of the same area, N=No there isn't
Orbit Number: 1351  
Date: 20050603   YYYYMMDD
Time: 093027   GMT HHMMSS
Nadir Lat: 47.5N  
Latitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Nadir Lon: 57.9E  
Longitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Sun Azimuth: 221   Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point
Space Craft Altitude: 187   nautical miles
Sun Elevation: 60   Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point
Land Views: ISLAND  
Water Views: LAKE, RIVER, SEA  
Atmosphere Views:  
Man Made Views:  
City Views:  
Photo is not associated with any sequences

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