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The Namib and Kalahari Deserts – April 18th, 2009

April 18th, 2009 Category: Image of the day

Namibia - April 5th, 2009

Namibia - April 5th, 2009

The arid land of two deserts gives an orange tone to this image, which covers parts of Namibia (left), Botswana (right) and South Africa (below).

The Namib Desert is visible on the far left. Its borders are made fairly evident by the outline of its orange-red sands.

East of the Namib, the Kalahari Desert covers much of the rest of the image. It is a large, arid desert area in southwestern Sub-Saharan Africa extending 900,000 km² (225,000 sq. mi.), covering much of Botswana and parts of Namibia and South Africa. It has huge tracts of excellent grazing after good rains.

The Kalahari has vast areas covered by red sand without any permanent surface water. Drainage is by dry valleys, seasonally inundated pans, and the large salt pans of the Makgadikgadi Pan in Botswana and Etosha Pan in Namibia.

However, the Kalahari is not a true desert. Parts of the Kalahari receive over 250 mm (9.8″) of erratic rainfall annually and are quite well vegetated; it is only truly arid in the southwest with under 175 mm (6.9″) of rain annually, making the Kalahari a fossil desert. Summer temperatures in the Kalahari range from 20 to 45°C (68–113°F).

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