EGU21-3846, updated on 04 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Former bay of the desiccating Aral Sea as the newly formed world’s largest heliothermal lake 

Alexander Izhitskiy1, Georgiy Kirillin2, Igor Goncharenko1, Abilgazy Kurbaniyazov3, and Peter Zavialov1
Alexander Izhitskiy et al.
  • 1Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Marine Physics, Moscow, Russian Federation
  • 2Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Berlin, Germany
  • 3Yassawi International Kazakh-Turkish University, Turkestan, Kazakhstan

The Aral Sea desiccation is the worst aquatic ecological disaster of the last century, important for understanding the worldwide trends to degradation of arid lakes under water use and climate change. Formerly the fourth largest lake worldwide, the Aral Sea has lost ~90% of its water since the early 1960s due to irrigation in its drainage basin. Basing on field observations and numerical simulations, we show that the former bay of the Aral Sea — Chernyshev — turned to a meromictic heliothermal water body with extreme temperature, light and chemical regimes. The heliothermal regime of Chernyshev keeps the deep monimolimnion warm (about 15-16°C) throughout cold winter. Among less than 30 heliothermal waters worldwide, Chernyshev with its area of ~80-90 km2 is the largest heliothermal lake, the second one being permanently ice-covered Antarctic lake Vanda. Chernyshev is also the youngest heliothermal lake, emerged within the last half-century. Seasonal themal cycle of the basin, scenarios of its formation and possible consequences for the ecosystem are discussed.

The study is funded by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR project № 20-55-12007) and German Research Foundation (DFG KI 853-16/1).

How to cite: Izhitskiy, A., Kirillin, G., Goncharenko, I., Kurbaniyazov, A., and Zavialov, P.: Former bay of the desiccating Aral Sea as the newly formed world’s largest heliothermal lake , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3846,, 2021.

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