Journal article

Climatic or regionally induced by humans? Tracing hydro-climatic and land-use changes to better understand the Lake Urmia tragedy

Bahram Khazaei, Sina Khatami, Seyed Hamed Alemohammad, Lida Rashidi, Changshan Wu, Kaveh Madani, Zahra Kalantari, Georgia Destouni, Amir Aghakouchak



Lake Urmia—a shallow endemic hypersaline lake in northwest Iran—has undergone a dramatic decline in its water level (WL), by about 8 m, since 1995. The primary cause of the WL decline in Lake Urmia has been debated in the scientific literature, regarding whether it has been predominantly driven by atmospheric climate change or by human activities in the watershed landscape. Using available climate, hydrological, and vegetation data for the period 1981–2015, this study analyzes and aims to explain the lake desiccation based on other observed hydro-climatic and vegetation changes in the Lake Urmia watershed and classical exploratory statistical methods. The analysis accounts for the relationsh..

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