The inundated area of the Okavango Delta changes annually and interannually. The variability relates to regional precipitation over the catchment area in the Angolan highlands, and to local rainfall. The patterns of the wetland were captured using more than 3000 satellite images for the period 1972 to 2000, near daily NOAA AVHRR data for 1985–2000, and less frequent images of the Landsat sensors from 1972 onwards. One AVHRR image for every 10-day period was classified into land and water using an unsupervised classification method. Evaluation against Landsat TM and ERS2-ATSR data indicate an agreement of 89% for the size of estimated inundation area. Results show that the wetland area has varied between approximately 2450 km2 and 11 400 km2 during the last 30 years.
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