20 Feb 2012:
NASA Photo Shows Shrinking
Lake In The Southern Sahara Desert
A new photo taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station
shows the extent to which Lake Fitri, a terminal lake in the southern Sahara Desert in Chad, has diminished due to dry conditions.
In the photo, which was taken in January, the muddy yellow-brown water is visible at the center of the basin, surrounded by a network of exposed mud, wetlands, and sand dunes. At the northern edge of the lake (which, in this rotated image, is located in the lower left), a ring of dark brown muds and burnt vegetation illustrates the exposed lake floor. The dry borders show that the lake was many times larger in years past, with the wind-shaped curves of ancient beaches now located several kilometers from the current shoreline. According to NASA, the lake, which formed as a terminus for rivers that never accumulated enough rainfall to reach the sea, is sensitive to the shifting equilibrium between inflow from rivers like the Wadi Batha (visible at the top of the image) and evaporation. The numerous beach ridges show the different levels the lake has reached in response to the shifting climate system.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
The 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner documents a Northeastern town's bitter battle over a wind farm. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
A 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner captures stunning images of wild salmon runs in Alaska. Watch the video.
video goes onto the front lines with Colorado firefighters confronting deadly blazes fueled by a hotter, drier climate. Watch the video.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.