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From: Dan Richter (1:317/3)
To: All
Date: Mon, 05.04.21 13:00
MODIS Pic of the Day 05 April 2021
April 5, 2021 - Kafue Flats, Zambia


Kafue River, Zambia, Manyeke Lake

The Kafue River rises near the Congo/Zambia border, then meanders
roughly 1,600 km (994 mi) across Zambia to eventually join the Zambezi
River near Chirundu in Zimbabwe. After leaving Lake Itezhi-tezhi
through the Itezhi-tezhi Dam, the Kafue becomes wide and shallow as it
passes through the area known as the Kefue Flats. Eventually the waters
are confined at a second dam, the Kafue Gorge hydro electric dam.

Kafue Flats is a 6,500 square kilometer (2,510 sq mi) floodplain that
was once one of the richest wildlife habitats in Africa, and was
subject to heavy seasonal flooding. The rhythm of the seasonal rains
followed by the hot, dry season sustained hunting, fishing, livestock
grazing, and cropping on the flats. It also created a living habitat
that supported over 400 bird species and a wide variety of animals,
including the Kafue lechwe (Kobus leche)—a water-loving antelope that
has been known to submerge in shallow water when threatened. The
Itezhi-tezhi Dam was built, in part, to control flooding in the Flats;
however, loss of seasonal floods had wide-ranging and mostly negative
impacts on the ecosystem which depends on wet-season flooding to create
lush growth of grasses in the dry season. Now the dam releases water to
the Flats on a timetable that mimics the more natural seasonal rains,
but also minimizes extensive and damaging extreme flood events.

The climate of Zambia is marked by three distinct seasons. The cool-dry
season runs from early May to August and is followed by the hot dry
season from September to October. The wet-warm season begins in
November and ends in March. Most of the rain falls between December and
February. The dam releases water based on the rainfall each year, but
to minimize extreme floods, it releases water as a “freshet”—the
of water judged to meet the environmental requirement for flooding,
flow flux, and recession of the water on the Kafue Flats. In wet years,
the freshet may start as early as January, but in a dry year the
freshet starts in March.

On April 1, 2021, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
(MODIS) on board NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a true-color image of
the Kafue Flats. The lush dark green color of the Flats stand out in
contrast to the light greens and tans of the dryer land surrounding the
recently flooded area.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 4/1/2021
Resolutions: 1km (122.4 KB), 500m (307.9 KB), 250m (151.8
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

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