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The River Basin  
 Introduction
Geography
Climate and Weather
 Principles of Climate and Meteorology
Climate of the Orange-Senqu River Basin
 The Regional Climate
 Climatic Patterns
 Climatic Classification
 Water Scarcity in the Basin
 Drought in the Basin
 Climate Change
Hydrology
Water Quality
Ecology and Biodiversity
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Climate and Weather:

Climate of the Orange-Senqu River Basin

   

Within the geographically extremely heterogenic Orange-Senqu River basin there are enormous climatic differences. The climate in the basin is usually discussed in terms of these regions

  • The mountainous terrain of the Maloti Mountains of Lesotho - this region experiences a relatively temperate climate, defining the ecosystems and to a large extent the livelihoods possible in this region.
  • The undulating dry grasslands of the southern Highveld - a climatic and geographic transition zone from the mountainous regions.
  • The western region of southern Africa - containing three desert systems, characterized by harsh arid conditions:
    • The Succulent Karoo – experiencing highly variable and inconsistent rainfall throughout the year
    • The Nama Karoo - receiving mainly summer rainfall and comprising a number of different vegetation types
    • The Southern Kalahari – consisting of deep wind-blown sand, which allows little or no run-off from rainfall

(UNDP-GEF 2008)

The map below illustrates the distribution of these terrestrial ecoregions across the Orange-Senqu River basin.

Terrestrial Ecoregions of the Orange-Senqu River basin.
Source:WWF 2001
( click to enlarge )
The altitude and mountains of the Lesotho Highlands ensure a temperate climate.
Source:Lesotho Water Commission 2009
( click to enlarge )
The arid Nama Karoo.
Source:DRFN 2004
( click to enlarge )

The physical factors that create distinct climatic zones and the variability within these zones are discussed in the following sections.

 

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