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Lakes, Rivers and Wetlands in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia

17.6S 24.9E

April 27th, 2013 Category: Lakes, Rivers, Wetlands

Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia – April 27th, 2013

Multiple lakes and wetland areas can be observed in this image that focuses on Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia (counter-clockwise from lower left quadrant). Visible near the center left is the Okavango Delta, an inland delta in Botswana, with the salt flats of the Makgadikgadi Pan to the southeast. In the upper left quadrant is the Barotse Floodplain, in Zambia, while in the upper right quadrant is Lake Kariba, on the Zimbabwe-Zambia border.

The area in the center of the image is the Caprivi Strip, a narrow protrusion of Namibia eastwards from the Okavango Region about 450 km (280 mi), between Botswana to the south, and Angola and Zambia to the north. Caprivi is bordered by the Okavango, Kwando, Chobe and Zambezi rivers. 

Lagoons and Wetlands in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina

28.2S 57.1W

April 7th, 2013 Category: Fires, Lakes, Wetlands

Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina – April 6th, 2013

Several bodies of water can be observed in this image of southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Near the coast are two lagoons: Lagoa dos Patos, in Brazil, and Lagoa Merim/Laguna Merín, shared by Brazil and Uruguay. There is a strong presence of sediments in both lakes.

In the upper left quadrant of the image are the Esteros del Iberá, or Iberá Wetlands, a mix of swamps, bogs, stagnant lakes, lagoons, natural slough and courses of water in the center and center-north of the province of Corrientes, Argentina. The Esteros are the second-largest wetlands in world after Pantanal in Brazil. They are of pluvial origin, with a total area 15,000 to 20,000 km². A fire can be seen near this wetlands area, releasing a white plume of smoke towards the south.

Barotse Floodplain in Western Zambia

15.6S 23.1E

March 30th, 2013 Category: Wetlands

Zambia – March 29th, 2013

The Barotse Floodplain, visible as a wide green strech running vertically across the right half of this image (also known as the Bulozi Plain, Lyondo or the Zambezi Floodplain) is one of Africa’s great wetlands, on the Zambezi River in the Western Province of Zambia. It is a designated Ramsar site, regarded as being of high conservation value.

The floodplain stretches from the Zambezi’s confluence with the Kabompo and Lungwebungu Rivers in the north, to a point about 230 km south, above the Ngonye falls and south of Senanga. Along most of its length its width is over 30 km, reaching 50 km at the widest, just north of Mongu, principal town of the plain, situated at its edge. The main body of the plain covers about 5500 km², but the maximum flooded area is 10 750 km² when the floodplains of several tributaries are taken into account.

About 250,000 people live on the plain with a similar number of cattle, migrating to grasslands at the edge of the floodplain when the flood arrives. The floodplain is one of the most productive areas for raising cattle in the country. It is also used for fishing and cultivating crops such as maize, rice, sweet potato, and sugar cane.

Climate Change in the Everglades, Florida, USA – March 22nd, 2013

25.8N 81.3W

March 22nd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day, Wetlands

USA – March 21st, 2013

Visible along the southwestern part of the tip of Florida, USA is the Everglades National Park. Nearly flat and perched on the edge of a rising ocean, the park is already feeling the effects of a warming climate. Sea level rise has brought significant changes that are already being observed on the landscape, and more will likely be seen in the years ahead.

The environment of south Florida and the Everglades is unique because of its low elevation and subtropical climate. Along the coast, seasonal pulses of freshwater from the north meet the constant fluctuation of the tides that nurture several distinct ecosystems, including buttonwood forests. These coastal communities are home to many rare and endangered plants such as tropical orchids and herbs, some of which are found only in south Florida.

Unfortunately, these species’ special home is in danger because the habitat is changing, in part, due to sea level rise-causing the salinization of groundwater and the soils above. It is unclear whether or not these species can tolerate the increased salinity that will come as sea level continues to rise due to climate change.

Scientists measure water levels throughout the park-including the many inland, freshwater habitats. The water level in these areas varies with changes in rainfall and freshwater flow as well as influences from ocean tides. Over the last 50 years, the scientists have observed an increase in the water level at some inland, freshwater sites in the park that is consistent in pace with the observed increase in regional sea level. Though it is presently unclear why this correlation exists, and what implications it might have for the freshwater environments of the Everglades, it does suggest the influence of sea level rise may reach far inland (click here for more information).

Sundarbans and Ganges Delta Sediments, Bangladesh and India – February 28th, 2013

22.0N 89.0E

February 28th, 2013 Category: Wetlands

Bangladesh – February 26th, 2013

The Sundarbans, visible here as a dark green area by the coast, surrounded by sediments, are the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world. They cover parts of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, in the Ganges delta. The Sundarbans comprise a network of 108 swampy, low-lying islands. The region’s low elevation above sea-level and proximity to the coast make it particularly vulnerable to climate change, particularly to an increase in cyclones.

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