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Climate Change and Rainfall in the Chott el Djerid Basin, Tunisia

33.8N 8.4E

June 5th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Wetlands VIIRSSuomi-NPP

Tunisia – June 4th, 2013

The Chott el Djerid is an ephemeral salt playa situated in an arid zone closed basin which has a catchment area of 10500km2. The Chott el Djerid itself has a surface area of approximately 5360km2. The interpretation of climate change in this period and its relation to sediments, specifically lake shoreline deposits found within the Chott el Djerid basin, have become more controversial in recent times. Studies have shown that due to climate change, rainfall in the basin has been decreasing in recent years. The recorded presence of surface water on the Chott el Djerid can be related to rainfall events in the basin (click here for more information).

Dust Storm Near Lake Faguibine and Inner Niger Delta, Mali

16.7N 3.9W

May 19th, 2013 Category: Dust Storms, Lakes, Wetlands

Mali – May 19th, 2013

A dust storm in Mali blows a thick,  yellow cloud of sand towards Lake Faguibine (identifiable here as an elongated dark area near the top edge) and the Inner Niger Delta (center left).

Lake Faguibine is a lake in Mali on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert situated 80 km west of Timbuktu and 75 km north of the Niger River to which it is connected by a system of smaller lakes and channels. In years when the height of the annual flood of the river is sufficient, water flows from the river into the lake. Since the Sahel drought of the 1970s and 1980s the lake has been mostly dry. Water has only rarely reached the lake and even when it has done so, the lake has been only partially filled with water. This has caused a partial collapse of the local ecosystem.

The Inner Niger Delta, also known as the Macina, is a large area of lakes and floodplains in the semi-arid Sahel area of central Mali, just south of the Sahara desert. The Niger inland Delta lies in the Sahelian zone, and has an ecosystem that is largely dependent on the amount of flooding it receives. Due to its proximity to the widening Sahel, there have been concerns that the delta may be getting less rain every year. Here, the delta appears quite dry, blending in with the surrounding terrain rather than showing a great deal of green vegetation.

Climate Change Affecting Lake Poopó’s Water Levels – May 7th, 2013

18.7S 67W

May 7th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day, Lakes, Wetlands

Bolivia – May 7th, 2013

Lake Poopó, the green lake in the upper half of this image, is located on the Andean altiplano, or highland plateau, in Bolivia, at approximately 3700 m above sea level. Its area has decreased by 50% – about 17,400 ha. – in the last 25 years, with serious consequences for the populations of resident and migratory waterbirds.

The decrease in the wetland’s area of open water has been attributed principally to climate change, which, in conjunction with current hydrological conditions (high rates of evaporation, low rainfall, and low flow rates of the rivers flowing into the lake), mean that water levels in the lake are not rising. This has had serious impacts on the biodiversity which depends on the wetland, given that the salinity has increased, thus decreasing survival rates of some species, with subsequent consequences in the local economy.

Disappearance of Coastal Wetlands in Mississippi Delta, USA

29.9N 90W

May 4th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Wetlands

USA – May 4th, 2013

Coastal wetlands in the Mississippi Delta are disappearing. Many factors contribute to the stress placed on wetlands, including the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in the summer of 2010. But natural forces are at work as well—local sinking of the ground and accelerating rates of sea-level rise, which scientists expect to further accelerate due to climate change.

Over the past century, Louisiana has lost 1,900 square miles (4,920 square kilometers) of coastal wetlands—more than one-third of its coastal plain. Because coastal wetlands help protect the coastline from storm surge, Louisiana’s capacity to absorb the surge from hurricanes such as Katrina in 2005 has been weakened. Increases in extreme weather in the Gulf Coast region—home to the U.S. oil and gas industry—are expected to disrupt the nation’s energy production and supply (click here for more information).

Fire Near Upemba Depression, Democratic Republic of the Congo – April 28th, 2013

8.6S 26.3E

April 28th, 2013 Category: Fires, Image of the day, Lakes, Wetlands

Democratic Republic of the Congo – April 27th, 2013

A fire can be seen east of the Upemba Depression in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, releasing a plume of smoke that blows northwest. The Upemba Depression, Kamalondo Depression, is a large marshy bowl area comprising some fifty lakes, including 22 of relatively large size including Lake Upemba (530 km²) and Lake Kisale (300 km²). In an earlier era, the area was probably occupied by one large lake.
The area is covered in marshland and is partially within the Upemba National Park in Haut-Lomami District.

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