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Climate Change Affecting Okavango Delta and Makgadikgadi Pan, Botswana

19.7S 22.8E

March 29th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Rivers, Salt Flats

Botswana – March 29th, 2013

The Okavango Delta (upper left quadrant) is a large inland delta in Botswana, produced by seasonal flooding where the Okavango River spills into a trough in the endorheic basin of the Kalahari Desert. Summer rainfall (in January and February) in Angola’s highlands drains southward through the Okavango River. This water then gradually spreads over the delta from March to August, peaking in the last three months, in which the delta swells to a large, swampy marsh of three times its permanent size. This image was taken in late March, approximately one month in to the flooding period.

The delta is important to Botswana for several reasons, including being a home to many plant and animal species, revenue generated through tourism, and use by local communities for water, fishing and agriculture. However, climate change is affecting the delta through declining precipitation and increasing temperatures, causing flood patterns and water channel distribution to shift. Reduced inflow could result in swamps drying out and forests being replaced by grasslands, causing local animal species to migrate or become extinct.

Also visible here, near the right edge, is the bright white Makgadikgadi Pan, a large salt pan in the middle of the dry savanna of northeastern Botswana. One of the largest salt flats in the world, it is all that remains of the huge, ancient Lake Makgadikgadi. For much of the year, most of the area remains waterless and extremely arid; however, it floods during periods of good rain, attracting wildlife. As it is linked to Okavango Delta by the Boteti River, reduced inflow in the delta region can also affect the ecosystem of the pan.

Makgadikgadi Pan and Okavango Delta in Northern Botswana – May 3rd, 2012

20.6S 25.3E

May 3rd, 2012 Category: Lakes, Rivers, Salt Flats

Botswana - April 15th, 2012

The large white area near the center of this image is the salty surface of the Makgadikgadi Pan. Located in northern Botswana, it is the largest salt flat complex in the world, covering approximately 16,000 km2.

Visible to the northwest of the pan is the Okavango Delta, also in Botswana. It is the world’s largest inland delta, formed where the Okavango River empties onto the terrain of the Kalahari Desert.

Visible to the northeast of the pan is Lake Kariba, the world’s largest human-made reservoir by volume, with a storage capacity of 185 cubic kilometers (44.4 cu mi) and covering an area of 5,580 square kilometers (2,150 sq mi) and . It is located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Okavango Delta and Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana

20.4S 24.8E

April 27th, 2011 Category: Rivers, Salt Flats, Wetlands

Botswana - April 15th, 2011

The green, broom-shaped Okavango Delta, the terminus of the Okavango River and one of the world’s largest inland water systems, can be observed on the left side of this image.

Millions of years ago the Okavango river use to flow into a large inland lake called Lake Makgadikgadi. This lake has now dried up and become the Makgadikgadi Pans, a large series of salt flats. The pans appear whitish grey and can be seen at the lower right.

 

Channels of Okavango Delta and Colors of Makgadikgadi Pan, Botswana – August 24th, 2010

20.4S 25.5E

August 24th, 2010 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Rivers, Salt Flats

Botswana - July 17th, 2010

Botswana - July 17th, 2010

The area with branching green lines on the left side of this image is the Okavango Delta, in Botswana. It is situated at the end of the Okavango River, where the river empties its waters onto the desert floor of the Kalahari. Also visible near the right edge is Lake Kariba.

Upon opening the full image, a stream can be seen connecting the inland delta to the Makgadikgadi Pan, a large salt flat.  Although the salt flat appears bright white in the thumbnail, in the full image various colors can be observed: different shades of white and green, greenish areas where water is present, and red patches that probably indicate where salt is being extracted.

Okavango Delta, Lake Kariba and Makgadikgadi Pan in Central Southern Africa

19.5S 24.8E

August 15th, 2010 Category: Lakes, Rivers, Salt Flats

Botswana - August 5th, 2010

Botswana - August 5th, 2010

The upper half of this image has a greenish tone, in contrast with the brown hues of the Kalahari Desert. The Okavango River empties its waters onto those desert sands towards the center of this image, creating a green inland delta known as the Okavango Delta, in Botswana.

East of the delta are two other interesting features: the Makgadikgadi Pan, a large salt flat in Botswana that appears bright white, and Lake Kariba, a dark blue on the Zambezi River that lies along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.