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Lake Malawi and the Impact of Climate Change on Water Levels

12.2S 34.2E

April 23rd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes

Malawi – April 22nd, 2013

Lake Malawi (Lake Nyasa, or Lago Niassa in Mozambique), is an African Great Lake and the southernmost lake in the East African Rift system, located between Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. The third largest and second deepest lake in Africa, it is also the ninth largest in the world. It is reportedly the habitat of more species of fish than any other body of freshwater, including more than 1000 species of cichlids, and was officially declared a reserve by the Government of Mozambique in 2011.

Sustainable water resources development of Malawi needs a thorough assessment of the impact of climate change on the future water levels of Lake Malawi because Lake Malawi together with its outflowing Shire river water system is Malawi’s most important water resource for hydropower generation, water supply for industrial and domestic use in the city of Blantyre and its surrounding urban areas together with irrigation water in the Lower Shire Valley (LSV). Any changes in the hydrological or ecological behaviour of the lake will have far reaching consequences on the economy of Malawi.

The results of sensitivity analysis of the WBM of Lake Malawi to climate change have shown that water level will continue to drop following a decrease in the rainfall season and an increase in evaporation rates from the lake. It further shows that it is very unlikely for the water level to increase to a maximum height of 477 m amsl as was in 1980 (click here for more information).

Lakes Malawi and Rukwa in East Africa

11.9S 34.4E

December 1st, 2011 Category: Lakes

Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania - November 22nd, 2011

Two large African lakes can be observed here: the brownish grey Lake Rukwa (upper left corner) and the elongated, dark blue Lake Malawi (also known as Lake Nyasa).

Lake Malawi is an African Great Lake and the southernmost lake in the Great Rift Valley system of East Africa. This lake, the third largest in Africa and the eighth largest lake in the world, is located between Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. It is the second deepest lake in Africa.

Lake Rukwa is an alkaline lake in southwestern Tanzania, lying midway between Lake Tanganyika and Lake Nyasa at an elevation of about 800 metres, in a parallel branch of the rift system. The lake has seen large fluctuations in its size over the years, due to varying inflow of streams. Currently it is about 180 km long and averages about 32 km wide, making it about 5760 square kilometres in size.

Lake Malawi and Capital City of Lilongwe, Malawi

13.9S 33.7E

November 15th, 2011 Category: Lakes

Malawi - November 8th, 2011

This APM image shows a small section of the shoreline of Lake Malawi (also known as Lake Nyasa in most countries), an African Great Lake, in Malawi. The shoreline appears mountainous, as Lake Malawi lies in the Great Rift Valley that was formed by the opening of the East African Rift, where the African tectonic plate is being split into two pieces. It is the southernmost lake in the Great Rift Valley system of East Africa.

Further south, upon opening the full image, the city of Lilongwe can be observed as a yellowish area near the center right edge. It is the capital and largest city of Malawi, with an estimated population of 902,388 as of 2009.

Lilongwe lies in the country’s central region, on the Lilongwe River, near the border of Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia, and on the main north-south highway of Malawi. Lilongwe features a humid subtropical climate that borders on a subtropical highland climate, with pleasantly warm summers and mild “winters”. Due to the altitude, temperatures are lower than would be expected for a city located in the tropics.

Nkhata Bay on Lake Malawi, Malawi

11.6S 34.2E

December 11th, 2010 Category: Lakes

Malawi - December 10th, 2010

This orthorectified image shows the mountainous western shores of Lake Malawi (also known as Lake Nyasa), shared by the countries of Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.

The city located on the area of land extending further eastward into the lake is Nkhata Bay, the capital of the Nkhata Bay District in Malawi. It is one of the main ports on Lake Malawi.

Mount Rungwe Near Lake Malawi in Tanzania

October 16th, 2009 Category: Lakes, Volcanoes

Tanzania - September 6th, 2009

Tanzania - September 6th, 2009

Mount Rungwe, visible near the top center edge of this orthorectified image, is an inactive volcano in the Mbeya region of the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. With an altitude of 2960m it is southern Tanzania’s second highest peak.

Rungwe stands at the junction of the eastern and western arms of the Great Rift Valley of Africa. It dominates the mountainous country at the north-west end of the trough that contains Lake Malawi (Lake Nyasa), bottom right.

The southeastern slopes of these mountains receive up to 3,000 mm of rainfall a year, the highest rainfall in Tanzania; the slopes are covered with a belt of tropical montane forest. Above the treeline, at about 2600 m, there is a belt of heathland. Much of the mountain was listed as a Forest Reserve as early as 1949.

Upon opening the full image, the city of Mbeya is visible at the top, as is Lake Ngozi, the second largest Crater Lake in Africa.

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