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Posts tagged Etosha Pan

Etosha Pan, Namibia, and Fires in Angola

17.2S 14.0E

June 6th, 2013 Category: Salt Flats VIIRSSuomi-NPP

Namibia – June 4th, 2013

Visible in the lower part of this image, in northern Namibia, is the Etosha Pan. Once a lake, the pan gradually dried up through evaporation 2 to 10 million years ago when climatic changes and topographic movements caused the Kunene river to change its course, and to flow into the Atlantic Ocean. Now, the Etosha Pan is a stark, seemingly endless depression of pale greenish-white clay, silt and mineral salts, all baking under the fierce sun. Visible to the north, in Angola, are what appear to be two plumes of smoke from fires.

In living history, the Etosha Pan has never been filled with water, although in years of good rainfall, several tributaries of the Kunene river, such as the Oshigambo and the Ekuma in northwest and the Omuramba Ovambo in the east, drain into it, causing partial flooding and attracting thousands of flamingoes and other wading birds. The water, though, can be as much as two times saltier than sea water is, and therefore generally unfit for animal consumption.

Climate Change and the Etosha Pan, Namibia

18.7S 16.4E

May 30th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Salt Flats

Namibia – May 30th, 2013

Etosha National Park in northern Namibia, one of Africa’s major wildlife sanctuaries, is home to the critically endangered black rhinoceros. Climate change threatens biodiversity in the park and elsewhere in Africa, and a warmer, drier climate in Namibia could put tourism at risk.

Temperatures in Namibia have been rising at three times the global average rate for the twentieth century, and scientists expect the climate to continue to become hotter and drier—which could reduce the range and number of wildlife supported by Etosha. If we do nothing to reduce our heat-trapping emissions, Etosha faces a net loss of around eight species of mammals by 2050.

Cluster of Wildfires in Angola

16.3S 17.4E

April 29th, 2013 Category: Fires, Salt Flats

Namibia and Angola – April 29th, 2013

A cluster of wildfires can be seen just north of the border between Angola (above) and Namibia (below). While other fires can be seen scattered about the region, indicated by red and yellow markers here, the cluster of fires near the border is releasing a thick cloud of smoke easily observed in the image thumbnail. Also of note, by the bottom edge, are the white salt flats of the Etosha Pan.

Climate Change Issues for Etosha Pan, Namibia

18.7S 16.4E

April 20th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Salt Flats

Namibia – April 20th, 2013

The Etosha pan is a large 20-kilometre-long (75-mile-long) endorheic salt pan forming part of the Kalahari Basin in the north of Namibia. The pan is protected due to its designated as a Ramsar wetland of international importance; however, temperatures in Namibia have been rising at three times the global average rate for the twentieth century, and scientists expect the climate to continue to become hotter and drier—which could reduce the range and number of wildlife supported by Etosha. If nothing is done to reduce heat-trapping emissions, the pan faces a net loss of around eight species of mammals by 2050.

Climate Change Affecting Wildlife in Etosha Pan, Namibia

18.7S 16.4E

April 4th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Salt Flats

Namibia – April 3rd, 2013

Visible at the top center of this image is the Etosha Pan, in Namibia. Although it is one of the harshest and most barren areas on Earth, the Pan and the surrounding sweetveld savannah plains are home to more than 114 mammal and some 340 bird species.

This animal life is sustained only because of underground springs that form waterholes on the outskirts of the pan. These waterholes allow animals to fight off the dry and the heat as they migrate across Etosha, seeking refuge from temperatures that can reach as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Without a subterranean water table and the numerous places where it reaches the surface, little game would have been attracted to the region in the first place. There are indications, however, that the climate may be changing. 1995 was the 18th year of below average rainfall in Etosha. Large herbivores, as a result, have become more widely dispersed in search of grazing, and the predators alsoseem to be ignoring their previous range limits to widen their search for prey. Lion pride structure has become loose, with individuals traveling huge distances.

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