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Total Solar Eclipse of 2001 June 21

Weather Prospects for Angola

Fred Espenak and Jay Anderson

Adapted from NASA TP 1999-209484 "Total Solar Eclipse of 2001 June 21"

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In Angola, a narrow coastal plain rises rapidly to a broad plateau lying above 1000 m altitude. The two regions (plain and plateau) have distinct temperature regimes, but are equally blessed with fine eclipse skies in June. During winter there is little flow from the Atlantic over the Angolan plateau and skies are clear with little or no precipitation. While climatological statistics are sparse due to the decades-long civil war, measurements from satellite suggest that the best skies along the eclipse track are to be expected on the plateau. The mean cloudiness in this region is less than 10% and occasionally below 5% (Figure 11).

The only station record of sunshine close to the eclipse path comes from Huambo, just outside totality on the western side of the plateau. The nine hours of sunshine there (79% of the total possible) is not especially noteworthy in comparison with other sites in Zambia and Zimbabwe (Table 17), but other indicators, particularly the satellite measurements of cloudiness, show that interior Angola is a fine location from a meteorological point of view. Zambian sites close to the Angolan border (especially Mongu) have recorded as much as 9.9 hours of sunshine per day (~90% of the maximum possible) and so it would seem reasonable that central Angolan sites may exceed 10 hours of daily sunshine, likely in the area near Andulo.

Satellite images for June and early July of 1998 show only an occasional patch of fog or low cloud drifting onto the coastal lowlands from the Benguela Current (Figure 13). The same images showed virtually no cloud over the interior during a 35-day period. However, an orbital study of biomass burning (Figure 12) shows that the track through Angola passes through a region with a large number of seasonal fires. A smoky haze is likely to hang over the region, possibly making the outer parts of the corona more difficult to see and photograph.

Much of this is academic, as the ongoing Angolan civil war makes travel into the interior hazardous, in spite of a UN-brokered cease fire.

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Adapted from NASA TP 1999-209484 "Total Solar Eclipse of 2001 June 21". Permission is freely granted to reproduce this information and data when accompanied by an acknowledgment of the source:

"From Total Solar Eclipse of 2001 June 21 by Fred Espenak and Jay Anderson, NASA"

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WebMaster: Fred Espenak
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Last revised: 1999 Dec 09 - F. Espenak