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The Visible Effects of Climate Change in Iran

April 05, 2017|

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Lake Bakhtegan in Fars province was Iran's second largest lake, home to flamingos and migratory birds. Over the last decade, the lake has dried up turning the area into a vast desert. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

Lake Bakhtegan in Fars province was Iran's second largest lake, home to flamingos and migratory birds. Over the last decade, the lake has dried up turning the area into a vast desert. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

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A fisherman sells tamarisk reeds in the dried-out seabed of Lake Hamoon. At the border between Iran and Afghanistan, the Sistan Basin is one of the most arid places in the world. Drought and mismanagement of irrigation has contributed to drying out the lake, impacting wildlife and the livelihood of the local population. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

A fisherman sells tamarisk reeds in the dried-out seabed of Lake Hamoon. At the border between Iran and Afghanistan, the Sistan Basin is one of the most arid places in the world. Drought and mismanagement of irrigation has contributed to drying out the lake, impacting wildlife and the livelihood of the local population. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

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The remains of a boat on the dried-out seabed of Lake Urmia, the port of Sharafghaneh. Drought has impacted tourism to the city. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

The remains of a boat on the dried-out seabed of Lake Urmia, the port of Sharafghaneh. Drought has impacted tourism to the city. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

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Cracked land of the Gavkhouni salt marsh, the terminal basin of the Zayandeh River in Isfahan Province, Iran. Droughts and water mismanagement have contributed to Iran's water crisis. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

Cracked land of the Gavkhouni salt marsh, the terminal basin of the Zayandeh River in Isfahan Province, Iran. Droughts and water mismanagement have contributed to Iran's water crisis. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

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People walk on the dried Lake Urmia in northwestern Iran, near the Turkish border, which was one of the largest saltwater lakes in the Middle East. The lake has been shrinking over the last 20 years. This past summer algae and bacteria turned the water red. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

People walk on the dried Lake Urmia in northwestern Iran, near the Turkish border, which was one of the largest saltwater lakes in the Middle East. The lake has been shrinking over the last 20 years. This past summer algae and bacteria turned the water red. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

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A woman walks on a pier that once overlooked Lake Urmia's deep waters, July 2016, northwestern Iran. Since 1996, drought has contributed to the decline of the lake which now covers only about 10 percent of the area it once did. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

A woman walks on a pier that once overlooked Lake Urmia's deep waters, July 2016, northwestern Iran. Since 1996, drought has contributed to the decline of the lake which now covers only about 10 percent of the area it once did. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

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A sailor escapes 113°F heat by swimming in the port of Bushehr, along the Persian Gulf coast in southwestern Iran. Oil produced in the area then ends up in the air contributing to climate change. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

A sailor escapes 113°F heat by swimming in the port of Bushehr, along the Persian Gulf coast in southwestern Iran. Oil produced in the area then ends up in the air contributing to climate change. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

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Oil flares on Kharg Island, Iran's main port for exporting oil in the Persian Gulf. Iran is one of the main oil and gas producers in the world and also one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

Oil flares on Kharg Island, Iran's main port for exporting oil in the Persian Gulf. Iran is one of the main oil and gas producers in the world and also one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

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A straw weaver stands in his empty village in the coastal Persian Gulf. "We had underground fresh water 40 years ago both for drinking and agriculture, but have nothing now," he said. Over recent years, temperatures have risen and there is a lack of fresh  water forcing many to leave their homes. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

A straw weaver stands in his empty village in the coastal Persian Gulf. "We had underground fresh water 40 years ago both for drinking and agriculture, but have nothing now," he said. Over recent years, temperatures have risen and there is a lack of fresh  water forcing many to leave their homes. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

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An aerial view of dried farm land near Zabol, a city in Sistan Province. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

An aerial view of dried farm land near Zabol, a city in Sistan Province. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

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Twins escape from high temperatures at the seaside of Dayyer, Iran. According to scientists, by 2070, if worldwide emissions aren't sufficiently reduced, the Persian Gulf will experience heatwaves that will be impossible for many to survive. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

Twins escape from high temperatures at the seaside of Dayyer, Iran. According to scientists, by 2070, if worldwide emissions aren't sufficiently reduced, the Persian Gulf will experience heatwaves that will be impossible for many to survive. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

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Students walk by the seaside in Dayyer, on the Persian Gulf, where two months earlier, there was severe flooding. Iran's coastline is in danger of rising seas. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

Students walk by the seaside in Dayyer, on the Persian Gulf, where two months earlier, there was severe flooding. Iran's coastline is in danger of rising seas. Image by Ako Salemi. Iran, 2016.

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A village around Hamoon Lake close to the Afghanistan border, Sistan Province, southeastern Iran. The drying up of Hamoun wetlands has impacted the vegetation and wildlife in the area causing an ecological crisis. Image by Ako Salemi Iran, 2016.

A village around Hamoon Lake close to the Afghanistan border, Sistan Province, southeastern Iran. The drying up of Hamoun wetlands has impacted the vegetation and wildlife in the area causing an ecological crisis. Image by Ako Salemi Iran, 2016.

So much of the debate over climate change takes place in the realm of language—the dry language of scientists, the passionate language of environmentalists, the obfuscating language of skeptical politicians. But to feel climate change you have to see it, and there’s no better place to do that then Lake Urmia in southwest Iran.

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