NASA Watches Underground Fresh Water Sea Vanish from the Middle East (VIDEO)

underground sea nasa middle eastSound the alarms? Where has Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq’s underground freshwater sea gone?

NASA’s imaging technology recently brought some bad news about Mideast air pollution. Now NASA brings more bad news about the Mideast water supply. We already knew that the Dead Sea is shrinking. Some people are even trying to do something about it. But the Dead sea is– dead, its water is too salty for our energy guzzling desalinization plants. So it isn’t practical for human consumption or irrigation. But what if by some miracle the Mideast had access to a body of fresh water the size of the Dead Sea?

Well, it turns out that Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq already have access to such an enormous fresh water supply. What has happened to it? Unfortunately, over the course seven years, an amount of fresh water that would fill the Dead Sea has disappeared from this part of the Mideast. So says a NASA study which tracked Mideast ground water levels via satellite.
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NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission was launched in 2002. It is essentially a highly accurate weighing scale in the sky which can weigh the amount of water beneath the earth’s surface by measuring tiny variations in the Earth’s gravity.

This study showed that the underground water available in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley shrank by an average of 20 cubic kilometers every year.  The majority of this loss was caused by human activities.

“GRACE data show an alarming rate of decrease in total water storage in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins, which currently have the second fastest rate of groundwater storage loss on Earth, after India,” Jay Famiglietti, principal investigator of the study and a hydrologist and professor at UC Irvine, said.

“The rate was especially striking after the 2007 drought. Meanwhile, demand for freshwater continues to rise, and the region does not coordinate its water management because of different interpretations of international laws.”

GRACE,” he added, “Is the only way we can estimate groundwater storage changes from space right now.

“That’s enough water to meet the needs of tens of millions to more than a hundred million people in the region each year, depending on regional water use standards and availability,” Famiglietti said.

About Brian Nitz

Brian remembers when a single tear dredged up a nation's guilt. The tear belonged to an Italian-American actor known as Iron-Eyes Cody, the guilt was displaced from centuries of Native American mistreatment and redirected into a new environmental awareness. A 10-year-old Brian wondered, 'What are they... No, what are we doing to this country?' From a family of engineers, farmers and tinkerers Brian's father was a physics teacher. He remembers the day his father drove up to watch a coal power plant's new scrubbers turn smoke from dirty grey-back to steamy white. Surely technology would solve every problem. But then he noticed that breathing was difficult when the wind blew a certain way. While sailing, he often saw a yellow-brown line on the horizon. The stars were beginning to disappear. Gas mileage peaked when Reagan was still president. Solar panels installed in the 1970s were torn from roofs as they were no longer cost-effective to maintain. Racism, public policy and low oil prices transformed suburban life and cities began to sprawl out and absorb farmland. Brian only began to understand the root causes of "doughnut cities" when he moved to Ireland in 2001 and watched history repeat itself. Brian doesn't think environmentalism is 'rocket science', but understanding how to apply it within a society requires wisdom and education. In his travels through Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East, Brian has learned that great ideas come from everywhere and that sharing mistakes is just as important as sharing ideas.

3 thoughts on “NASA Watches Underground Fresh Water Sea Vanish from the Middle East (VIDEO)

  1. Ayoob Ali

    Still remember global warming issue? After around 10 years, this issue show no progressions at all. People seem doesn’t want to talk about it anylonger. So, what is up now? Another story for children before sleeping…Or a kind of “clear and present danger”? Please build strory with strong commitment inside and not just political compaign material. So, where else people can find fresh water?
    Comment posted on behalf of Edwin Al Ammar

    Reply
  2. Mohammad Arif

    Hahaha………I think this is all computer game. I can also show in this way my country India has no water but will you believe it? Another news was hard to breath in Middle East. What a fake news. Can you breath in many of the polluted US cities? I am in Middle East and have found fresher air than in India.

    Reply
  3. Murtaza

    How do we know whether the “tiny variations in the Earth’s gravity” were due to underground water loss and not extraction of fossil fuels?

    Reply

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