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Posts tagged Okavango River

Climate Change Affecting Okavango Delta and Makgadikgadi Pan, Botswana

19.7S 22.8E

March 29th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Rivers, Salt Flats

Botswana – March 29th, 2013

The Okavango Delta (upper left quadrant) is a large inland delta in Botswana, produced by seasonal flooding where the Okavango River spills into a trough in the endorheic basin of the Kalahari Desert. Summer rainfall (in January and February) in Angola’s highlands drains southward through the Okavango River. This water then gradually spreads over the delta from March to August, peaking in the last three months, in which the delta swells to a large, swampy marsh of three times its permanent size. This image was taken in late March, approximately one month in to the flooding period.

The delta is important to Botswana for several reasons, including being a home to many plant and animal species, revenue generated through tourism, and use by local communities for water, fishing and agriculture. However, climate change is affecting the delta through declining precipitation and increasing temperatures, causing flood patterns and water channel distribution to shift. Reduced inflow could result in swamps drying out and forests being replaced by grasslands, causing local animal species to migrate or become extinct.

Also visible here, near the right edge, is the bright white Makgadikgadi Pan, a large salt pan in the middle of the dry savanna of northeastern Botswana. One of the largest salt flats in the world, it is all that remains of the huge, ancient Lake Makgadikgadi. For much of the year, most of the area remains waterless and extremely arid; however, it floods during periods of good rain, attracting wildlife. As it is linked to Okavango Delta by the Boteti River, reduced inflow in the delta region can also affect the ecosystem of the pan.

Future of Okavango Delta, Botswana

19.7S 22.8E

February 12th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Rivers, Wetlands

Botswana – January 26th, 2013

The Okavango Delta (upper left quadrant), in Botswana, is a large inland delta, formed where the Okavango River reaches a tectonic trough in the central part of the endorheic basin of the Kalahari Desert. All the water reaching the Delta is ultimately evaporated and transpired, and does not flow into any sea or ocean. Each year approximately 11 cubic kilometres of water spread over the 6,000-15,000 km² area.

Scientific studies have suggested that the river flow could decrease by over 26% by the turn of the next century, due to climate change, particularly changing precipitation patterns in Angola. Changing precipitation patterns will result in changing flood patterns, which would devastate an ecosystem built around predictable winter floods. Furthermore, an increased evaporation rate in the Kalahari will reduce total surface area that the flood can reach and accelerate its disappearance (click here to read more).

Lakes, Rivers, Deltas and Floodplains Around Caprivi Strip, Africa – May 8th, 2012

18S 21.9E

May 8th, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Rivers, Salt Flats

Botswana - April 28th, 2012

Many bodies of water, different in size and hydrology, can be observed in this image of Angola (upper left), Zambia (upper right), Botswana (lower left) and Zimbabwe (lower right).

Visible by the right edge is the dark blue Lake Kariba, located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is the world’s largest artificial reservoir by volume. Southwest of the lake is the Makgadikgadi Pan, in Botswana, the world’s largest salt flat complex.

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

To the west is the Okavango Delta, formed where the Okavango River empties onto the Kalahari Desert. To the north is the Barotse Floodplain, which begins by the Zambezi River’s confluence with the Kabompo and Lungwebungu Rivers in the north. The region is a flat plateau at an elevation of about 1000 m tilting very slightly to the south.

Makgadikgadi Pan and Okavango Delta in Northern Botswana – May 3rd, 2012

20.6S 25.3E

May 3rd, 2012 Category: Lakes, Rivers, Salt Flats

Botswana - April 15th, 2012

The large white area near the center of this image is the salty surface of the Makgadikgadi Pan. Located in northern Botswana, it is the largest salt flat complex in the world, covering approximately 16,000 km2.

Visible to the northwest of the pan is the Okavango Delta, also in Botswana. It is the world’s largest inland delta, formed where the Okavango River empties onto the terrain of the Kalahari Desert.

Visible to the northeast of the pan is Lake Kariba, the world’s largest human-made reservoir by volume, with a storage capacity of 185 cubic kilometers (44.4 cu mi) and covering an area of 5,580 square kilometers (2,150 sq mi) and . It is located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Okavango Delta and Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana

20.4S 24.8E

April 27th, 2011 Category: Rivers, Salt Flats, Wetlands

Botswana - April 15th, 2011

The green, broom-shaped Okavango Delta, the terminus of the Okavango River and one of the world’s largest inland water systems, can be observed on the left side of this image.

Millions of years ago the Okavango river use to flow into a large inland lake called Lake Makgadikgadi. This lake has now dried up and become the Makgadikgadi Pans, a large series of salt flats. The pans appear whitish grey and can be seen at the lower right.

 

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