The Climates of Africa

The climate of the continent of Africa can be conveniently divided into the following five types:

1. Equatorial Forest Climate

This climate is found about seven degrees north and south of the equator. The temperature is uniformly hot throughout the year with heavy rainfall. There is no dry season. The difference between the coolest and warmest month is very small. This type of climate is found in the Zaire Basin and along the coast of the Guff of Guinea. Due to heavy rainfall about 1500 mm (60 in) or more, the area is covered with thick forests.

2. Tropical Grassland Climate

The areas that are included in this type of climate are found to the north and south of the region described above. This region has a definite dry season in the cooler months. The hotter months are rainy. As the precipitation so it cannot support forests and the area is covered with grasslands. The city of Keyes, Mali is the typical example. The total annual rainfall here is 39 inches (975 mm). This station has four absolutely dry months from Jan. to Apr. and has heavy rains in June, July, and August. The summer months are very hot at Keyes; the temperature for the month of May is more than 95F (35 C) while winters are hot; 77 F (25 C) is the temperature for the month of January. In fact these areas have no winter month in true sense of the word and winter in this region is a relative term.

3. Desert Climate

This type of Climate is found in the North and southwest of Africa. The climate is very dry indeed and stations located in this climatic zone usually record less than 10 in (250 mm) of Rainfall. The summers are very hot and winters are cool so the range between the summer and the winter months is very large. In Selah in Algeria for example record only 0.6 inch (15mm) in a whole year. The areas are covered with wide stretches of sand dunes. The world famous Sahara dessert lies in this zone and this zone also holds the world record for the highest ever temperature recorded in the history of the world. Al-Azizia in Libya recorded a high of 136 F (57.8 C) in the September of 1922.

4. Midlatitde Grassland Climate

The characteristic feature of this climate are hot summers and cool winters, but unlike the grasslands of Europe and North America, this region does nor suffer from the extremes of hot and colds because it is not located very far of from the sea. The region covers the south-eastern part of the African plateau. This grassland region is called veld in South Africa.

5. The Mediterranean type of Climate

The Mediterranean type with its hot dry summers and cool wet winters is found both in the extreme north and the extreme southern tip of the continent. The location of a particular city modifies the climate a bit. The stations which are located very close to sea like Cape Town in South Africa enjoy warm summers and mild winters while the stations further inland have hotter summers and cooler winters. The climate of Cape town located at 34 S and 18 E is especially pleasant. The average temperature of the warmest month doe not exceed 70 F (21 C) and that of the coolest month does not fall below 55 (11 C). This is the reason that these lands are sometimes called land of perpetual spring and are one of the favorite tourist resorts of Africa.

The above is a very short description of different climates found in Africa which gives us an idea about the diversity of temperature and rainfall present in the continent.

Source by Waqar Awan

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