Exploring Earth from Space: Lake Maharloo, Iran [Video]
Maharloo sits at an elevation of about 1400 m above sea level and is located about 27 km southeast of Shiraz in southwest Iran. The annual evaporation in the desert region is much higher than the annual precipitation, which means that the lake is often very dry.
Due to the high evaporation rate, the lake bed has been covered with salt over time. This increased salinity of the lake waters allowed some algae to thrive and cover the surface. Water includes a variety of organisms that exhibit colors ranging from pink to orange to red, with the strength of the color varying depending on the time of year. Usually, the deeper the lake, the darker the colors of the water.
Since the lake is seasonal, water levels will drop in the summer and rise again in the winter. In this image, taken in June 2019, the lake appears dark orange, which means the lake is very shallow but still contains water. By comparison, Maharloo was completely dry in June 2021.
As is the case with many desert lakes, salt dumped from the surrounding mountains accumulates and can be seen in the image as a white crust along the shores of the lake. In parts of the lake, facilities have been built for the extraction of salt (visible in this image along the southern shore).
The excessive salinity of the lake prevents organisms, especially fish, from living in the lake. However, some birds migrate to Maharloo during the summer months, including the flamingos. Shiraz, visible at the top left of the image, is the fourth most populous city in Iran. Shiraz International Airport can be seen just south of the city.
With its 13 spectral channels, the new Copernicus Sentinel-2 imager can capture water quality parameters such as surface chlorophyll concentration, detect harmful algal blooms, and measure turbidity (or clarity of water). ‘water) – giving a clear indication of health and pollution levels.