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Aral Karakum

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Title: Aral Karakum  
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Subject: Kyzyl Kum, WikiProject Deserts/Tasks, WikiProject Deserts/Articles, Chalbi Desert, WikiProject Deserts/Templates
Collection: Deserts of Kazakhstan
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Aral Karakum

Aral Karakum (Kazakh: Арал қарақұмы; ) is a desert in Kazakhstan, situated northeast of the Aral Sea. It borders on the Syr Darya river to the south. The desert covers an area of 40,000 km².

The landscape in the region is quite flat, with a height that varies from 55 to 118 meters AMSL. The dunes can reach heights of around 25 meters. The area is very dry, and the dried-out riverbeds usually only carry water during springtime, when the winter snow melts. Annual precipitation is around 120 mm.

The winter lasts from mid-November to mid-March, with varying cloud cover and frequent fog. Mean temperature during daytime is minus 5-10 °C, and at night around -25 °C. The lowest recorded temperature is -42 °C. However, at any time during winter, mild weather is possible. Precipitation falls mostly in the winter as snow. Snow cover is usually around 15 cm deep, but can reach 30 cm.

Summer lasts from May to mid-September. Daytime temperatures normally range 30-35 °C, but temperatures up to 43 °C have been recorded. At night the temperature drops to 15-18 °C. During summer there are often dry winds and dust storms.

The Aral Karakum has some vegetation, mainly grasses, and it is being used for grazing of sheep.

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