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Okavango Delta and Lake Ngami, Botswana – January 22nd, 2012

20.4S 22.7E

January 22nd, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Rivers, Wetlands

Botswana - January 6th, 2012

The Okavango Delta (or Okavango Swamp), in Botswana, is the world’s largest inland delta. It is formed where the Okavango River empties onto a swamp in an endorheic basin in the Kalahari Desert, where most of the water is lost to evaporation and transpiration instead of draining into the sea. Each year approximately 11 cubic kilometres of water irrigate the 15,000 km² area.

The Okavango Delta is produced by seasonal flooding. The Okavango river drains the summer (January–February) rainfall from the Angola highlands and the surge flows 1,200 kilometres in approximately one month. The waters then spread over the 250 km by 150 km area of the delta over the next four months (March–June). The flood peaks between June and August, during Botswana’s dry winter months, when the delta swells to three times its permanent size. Some flood-waters drain into Lake Ngami, which is visible here at the center of the bottom edge.

Lake Ngami is an endorheic lake in Botswana north of the Kalahari Desert. It is seasonally filled by the Taughe River, an affluent of the Okavango River system flowing out of the western side of the Okavango Delta. It is one of the fragmented remnants of the ancient Lake Makgadikgadi. Although the lake has shrunk dramatically beginning from 1890, it remains an important habitat for birds and wildlife, especially in flood years.

Namib Desert, Etosha Pan and Okavango River, Namibia – March 16th, 2011

17.9S 19.7E

March 16th, 2011 Category: Deserts, Image of the day, Rivers, Salt Flats

Namibia - February 17th, 2011

The Namibian landscape consists generally of five geographical areas: the Central Plateau, the Namib Desert, the Great Escarpment, the Bushveld, and the Kalahari Desert.

Much of this image is occupied by the Namib Desert. The sandy portion of the desert is visible along the coast in the lower part of the image. In the full image, many high rows of orange sand dunes can be observed.

To the north is the Etosha pan, a large endorheic salt pan forming part of the Namib Desert in the north of Namibia. The pan is mostly dry but after a heavy rain it will acquire a thin layer of water.

At the top of the full image, the Okavango River can be seen, marking the border between Namibia and Angola. The city of Rundu, the capital of the Kavango Region in northern Namibia, can be seen on the banks of the river near the upper right corner.

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 River and Delta in Angola and Botswana – June 1st, 2010

19.2S 22.7E

June 1st, 2010 Category: Image of the day, Rivers

Angola and Botswana - April 28th, 2010

Angola and Botswana - April 28th, 2010

The fan-shaped dark green area in the lower right quadrant is the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The Okavango River—formerly sometimes called the Okovango—takes its name from the Okavango (Kavango) people of northern Namibia.

The Okavango River is the fourth longest river system in southern Africa, running basically southeastward for 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from central Angola, where it is known as the Kubango, to the Kalahari Desert in northern Botswana, where the river terminates in an immense inland delta known as the Okavango Swamp.

Climate Change and Botswana’s Rainfall and Temperatures – May 10th, 2013

20.6S 25.3E

May 10th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day, Rivers, Salt Flats

Botswana – May 10th, 2013

This image shows two important areas of Botswana: the Okavango Delta (upper left) and the Makgadikgadi Pans (right). It is predicted that Botswana will become hotter over the next few decades, with an expected increase of 2°C by 2050—a rate of warming of 0.27°C per decade. It is also predicted that the spatial and temporal distribution of rainfall will be disrupted by climate change.

By 2050 there will be an annual decrease in rainfall of 5 percent in the northern and western regions of the country, while southeastern regions are expected to experience a 5 percent increase in annual rainfall. During the rainfall seasons, it is expected that there will be a 10–20 percent increase during the peak rainfall months (December to February), while other months will yield reduced rainfall. The rainy season will be shorter and less reliable due to climate change, and it is expected that most rain will fall as short, sharp events. It is expected that an increase in temperature would equal an increase in the rates of evaporation and transpiration (click here for more information).