Let’s take a brief look at the general climatic condition across the West African region especially for tourists and travelers who wish to visit the region at any particular time of the year. First, have it at the back of your mind that climate across the entire West Africa transits from the hot arid desert climatic conditions experienced in the north to the tropical humid monsoon weather experience in most southern coastal regions.
Some of the basic factors that influence climatic conditions in West Africa are the low pressure systems, altitude and its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. The region experiences the monsoon which is driven majorly by the movement of the northeasterly swirling winds coming from Sahara intersecting with the Southwesterly moist winds emanating from the Atlantic Ocean.
Farmer Ploughing with Cattles in Senegal (Photo Credit: Commons.Wikimedia)
Most part of West Africa receives rainfall during the rainy season starting from the months of April to mid-September. The dry seasons commences from October to March. Most coastal regions of West Africa like Ghana, Senegal and Southern Nigeria experience two peaked seasons of annual rainfall. The early peak occurs in May while the secondary or late peak is experienced in September with break in between.
Temperatures most times across West Africa are relatively very high all year round. The coastal regions in the south may have a slightly lower temperature compare to the burning sun in the north. Temperature may vary from about 22-30 degree Celsius in the South while temperatures experienced in the North and Sahara regions may span from 35-42 degree Celsius all year round as well. The movement of Inter Tropical Convergence Zone basically determines the periods of rainfalls. Between March and September, the ITCZ moves close to the equator but however migrates northwards during summer of northern hemisphere causing rainfall within the entire region.
Basically in West Africa, rainfall varies much considerably than the temperature. Climate in this region varies also much longer. The variation in the climatic conditions is caused by external and internal factors. Factors such as the eruption of volcanoes and the solar cycles are examples of natural or external factors while the emission by human of greenhouse gases and other particulate matters such as aerosol into the atmosphere puts much pressure on the system causing an abrupt variation in the climatic system. However, the pattern in recent rainfall and temperature which are mostly now extreme indicates the impacts of the above mentioned factors on the climate, ecosystems and our communities. This extreme climatic trend has led to the significant rise in the temperature across West Africa. Significant Impacts maybe the rise of temperatures during the day, cooler temperatures at nights and decrease in rainfall across many part of the regions. In conclusion, the future trend of climate pattern in the region is quite uncertain and difficult to foretell. This makes it pretty much difficult to rely on the weather man.