Document Type: Research Paper
Department of Civil Engineering, K.N. Toosi University of Technology, Tehran, Iran.
The water crisis is one of the important issues in the Middle East countries. Many lakes are drying up and/or facing critical situations, exerting tremendous impacts on the socio-economics of their region. Lake Urmia, in northwestern Iran, currently is facing critical situations and is on the brink of total shrinkage and environmental disaster. This paper investigates the roots of crises through trend analysis of hydrologic variables and shows the impact of the lake desiccation on altering the local climate. The results indicate an increase in temperature, a decrease in lake inflow, and limited significant trends in precipitation. They also indicate that increasing agricultural water consumption is the main cause of the current crisis of Lake Urmia. Further investigation reveals a significant change in the local climate as a consequence of Urmia Lake water shrinkage. This change occurs in the dominant wind direction where before its desiccation the lake was acting as a cooling medium. This phenomenon vanished after the desiccation of the lake causing a sharp increase in the temperature of the affected areas.