The Aral Sea is a well known environmental disaster zone. But this year, it got a whole worse, writes Anson Mackay, as its biggest basin dried up completely to expose a toxic, salty wasteland. With continuing irrigation and declining river flows due to climate change, the desert is only set to expand. The Aral Sea has reached a new low, literally and figuratively. New satellite images from NASA show that, for the first time in its recorded history, its largest basin has completely dried up. However, the Aral Sea has an interesting history – and as recently as 600-700 years ago it was as small, if not smaller, than today.