Urmia Lake desiccation and the signs of local climate changes

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. ‎‎


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