1. Central Eurasian Water Crisis: Caspian, Aral, and Dead Seas

Paperback: 203 pages
Publisher: United Nations University Press; illustrated edition edition (September 15, 1998)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9280809253
ISBN-13: 978-9280809251


This book emanates from an Agenda 21 UN funded research project entitled "Hydropolitics and Ecopolitical Decision-making." The project aimed to identify the issues in disputes concerning trans-boundary water resources; selected alternative scenarios that could lead to the solution of complex problems related to water and environment; and recommended processes through which the concerned countries were likely to agree on mutually satisfactory solutions to the problems by sharing resources and benefits. The research project was intended to provide a comprehensive and objective environmental management setting for the sustainable development of international water bodies. In its initial phase, the project focused on trans-boundary freshwater resources in the Middle East and Asia. The book was written as a response to the United Nations Agenda 21, Chapter 18 ("Protection of the Quality and Supply of Freshwater Resources: Application of Integrated Approaches to the Development, Management and Use of Water Resources").


"Central Eurasian Water Crisis" refers to the awareness by the global community that, in the 21st century, people in various regions around the world will likely face problems of water quality and water quantity. These problems have already surfaced in several locations, and this volume focuses on three of them: the Dead Sea, the Aral Sea, and the Caspian Sea regions. In this book, researchers from a variety of physical and social science disciplines seek to identify the water-related problems and the prospects for resolving them. They explain that the water level of the Dead Sea has been declining in recent years, and this has added to political tensions in the region. They explore how the need to resolve environ-mental issues related to the Dead Sea might be a major step toward peaceful cooperation. The Aral Sea, also declining in recent decades, has been threatened by the use of river water to serve cotton development in the sands of otherwise dry Central Asian deserts. And the Caspian Sea, the largest inland sea in the world, has gone through decadal-scale fluctuations over the past 150 years. One of the richest regions in the world with regard to oil and gas reserves, its environmen-tal problems (oil and waste pollution, desertification, the survival of the sturgeon, and the fluctuating sea level) will only serve to worsen other regional political problems, unless they are addressed in the near future. This volume attempts to raise as many questions as it answers about Eurasian water crises. These cases will serve as lessons of actions to be taken--or not taken. Iwao Kobori is a programme advisor at the United Nations University in Tokyo. Michael H. Glantz is a senior scientist in the Environmental and Societal Impacts Group of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

2. Physical Oceanography of the Dying Aral Sea:

Subseries: Geophysical Sciences
Author: Zavialov, Peter O.
Jointly published by Springer, Germany and Praxis Publishing, UK
2005, XXII, 146 p. 20 illus. in color., Hardcover
ISBN: 978-3-540-22891-2

Physical Oceanography of the Dying Aral Sea describes the background, present crisis state, and possible future of this peculiar inland water body from the physical oceanographic standpoint. Based on a wide range of material, a large part of which was published in Russian and has not been previously available to the international reader, the book first provides an historical overview of this unique system, which possesses both lake and sea properties. Next, the current physical state of the lake is described, partly based on original field research and model experiments, along with the remote sensing data, model results and analyses extracted from recent literature. The book attempts to forecast the forthcoming state of the Aral Sea and identify plausible future scenarios. Finally, the book discusses the Aral Sea dessication viewed as a part of the global perspective.


The fate of the dying Aral Sea is globally recognised. The author opens with an introduction which will give the reader basic preliminary information about the Aral crisis, providing an historical and bibliographic overview.

Part 1- PAST - describes the pre-desiccation state of the Aral Sea as a unique system possessing both lake and sea properties. Drawing on previously unpublished data, Part 1 focuses on the hydrography of the Sea, including thermohaline structure and its variability at different scales from synoptic to seasonal and interannual, physical properties of the Aral Sea water, and the circulation regime.

Part 2 - PRESENT - describes the current state of the lake and how the desiccation and salinization process has progressed faster than had been predicted in the last two decades. A major part of this section draws on original exclusive data from recent field research, presenting remote-sensing data from satellite altimetry and infrared remote sensing showing the present sea circulation.

Part 3 - FUTURE - formulates a sound forecast of the Aral Sea state for future decades. This Part opens with a detailed discussion of the feedbacks which control the water-budget components. It emphasizes the dependence of the effective evaporation rates on density stratification and salinity. Then it presents an original model based on these feedbacks, taking into account other models developed by other investigators. The most likely scenario is that the eastern basin will have evaporated in 15 years, with the western basin shrinking slowly, with relatively stable salinity. These will be described in detail along with other possible scenarios. Finally, possible environmental consequences of further shrinking of the Aral Sea will be discussed in a concluding section.

3.The Aral Sea Environment

Authors: Aleksey N. Kosarev2 and Andrey G. Kostianoy
Subseries: The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry Volume 7/2010
(1) P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 36 Nakhimovsky Pr., Moscow, 117997, Russia
(2) Geographic Department, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Vorobjovy Gory, Moscow, 119992, Russia

Publisher Springer Berlin / Heidelberg
DOI 10.1007/978-3-540-88277-0
Copyright 2010
ISBN 978-3-540-88276-3


This book presents a systematization and description of the knowledge accumulated to date on the physical oceanography, marine chemistry, and marine biology of the Aral Sea. A special attention is paid to satellite monitoring of the state and different natural parameters of the Aral Sea and its surroundings. Reasons for the progressing environmental crisis and present socio-economic problems in the Aral Sea region are highlighted.

The publication is based on numerous observational data, collected by the authors of the chapters during sea and shore expeditions, on the archive data of Moscow State University, P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, and the Hydroproject Institute (Moscow), as well as on a wide scientific literature. These data are complemented by the results of a series of Russian national and international projects, where an extensive research of the Aral Sea was carried out over the past decade. This book is addressed to the specialists working in various fields of physical oceanography, marine chemistry, biology, and environmental problems.

4. Fuzzy habitat suitability index for Populus euphratica in the Northern Amudarya delta (Uzbekistan)

Authors: Nadja Rüger, Maja Schlüter and Michael Matthies
Publisher: Institute of Environmental Systems Research, University of Osnabrück, Artilleriestr. 34, D-49069 Osnabrück, Germany

In the Northern Amudarya delta (Uzbekistan), the regulated hydrological regime is one of the main factors determining the ecological state of riverine ecosystems, such as the characteristic tugai forests. Euphratica poplar (Populus euphratica, syn. ariana) is the dominant tree species of tugai forests in Central Asia. A habitat suitability index for P. euphratica is developed to provide a measure for the evaluation of future water management alternatives as to their effects on the ecological situation in the delta region.

The following environmental variables are chosen as determining parameters for habitat suitability: geomorphology, groundwater level and flooding regime (i.e. flooding frequency, timing and duration of the last flooding). Here, flooding frequency is a dynamic variable that reflects the flooding history at a given site. Collected semi-quantitative and qualitative knowledge about the impact of those variables on suitability of a site for P. euphratica is formalised using a fuzzy set approach. The resulting index is implemented in GIS and applied to a test period (1991–1999). The results are compared to the actual distribution of tugai forest in the year 2000 to check their plausibility. By these means a ‘virtual expert’ is created that enables a fast and simple evaluation of the habitat suitability for P. euphratica on a landscape scale. As part of an integrated simulation tool, the HSI shall support the ecological impact assessment of future water management strategies on the Northern Amudarya delta.

5. The Aral Sea Encyclopedia

Igor S. Zonn (Author), M. Glantz (Author), Andrey Kostianoy (Author), Aleksey N. Kosarev (Author)

Hardcover: 292 pages
Publisher: Springer; 1 edition (February 3, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 3540850864
ISBN-13: 978-3540850861

The situation of the Aral Sea is known as one of the worst man made environmental crises of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Many have seen the satellite photos evidencing the startling shrinkage and deterioration of the sea, as it was a few decades ago and how it appears today. Whereas the Aral Sea was the world s fourth-largest inland body of water in 1960, it has now shrunk to a small fraction of that within three increasingly saline and polluted parts, primarily due to the diversion of waters for agricultural irrigation. The Aral Sea Encyclopedia is devoted to the remarkable phenomenon of the possibility of Aral Seas imminent disappearance from the Earth in the time span of a single human generation.

It first describes the sea before it started drying-out, and then the actions and efforts of the Central Asian countries, as well as the international community, to mitigate the socioeconomic and environmental hazards caused by this desiccation and increasing salinity. This comprehensive reference not only addresses the key environmental issues and presents national and international programs. It also documents the history of the related research studies, the involvement of prominent historical figures, and the chronology of events over three centuries, which became the milestones in the economic development of the Aral Sea and its subsequent diminution.

The publication of the Aral Sea Encyclopedia initiates a group of similar valuable references that gather multi-disciplinary perspectives on the world's seas, including planned volumes on the Caspian and Black Seas and the Sea of Japan.

6. Creeping Environmental Problems and Sustainable Development in the Aral Sea Basin

Michael Glantz (Editor)
Paperback: 308 pages
Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (September 18, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0521081386
ISBN-13: 978-0521081382


Environmental degradation in the Aral Sea basin in Central Asia has been a touchstone for increasing public awareness of environmental issues. The Aral crisis has been touted as a "quiet Chernobyl" and as one of the worst human-made environmental catastrophes of the twentieth century. This multidisciplinary book is the first to comprehensively describe the slow onset of low grade but incremental changes (i.e., creeping environmental change) that affected the region and its peoples. Through a set of case studies, it describes how the region's decision-makers allowed these changes to grow into an environmental and societal nightmare. It outlines many lessons to be learned for other areas undergoing detrimental creeping environmental change, and provides an important example of how to approach such disasters for students and researchers of environmental studies, global change, political science and history.