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The River Basin  
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
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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.



Explore the sub-basins of the Orange-Senqu River

Tour video scenes along the Orange-Senqu River related to the River Basin

Investigate land cover and terrestrial ecoregions in the basin

Examine how the hydrologic cycle moves water through and around the earth

Explore the interactions of living organisms in aquatic environments

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