Lake Chad in central Africa is but a small fraction of what it once was due to a regionally drying climate and human demand for fresh water. Over the past few decades, satellites have been monitoring the steady decline in the lake’s area as lake turns first to wetlands, and then eventually back into desert. In this true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from September 4, 2002, a small circle of brownish water is surrounded by bright green wetlands which mark the lake’s previous extent. In many places, the green of wetlands is being replaced by drifting sand dunes (tan ripples mixed with green). Read more about the study of Lake Chad in the News Archive, or
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