What Is the Climate in Africa?

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Africa is a huge continent with a wide variety of landscapes and climates, from the dry, hot desert climate found in the northern countries in the Sahara desert to the tropical rainforests toward the center of the continent and the subarctic climates found in mountainous regions in southern Africa. There is not a single, dominant climate throughout the African continent, with different geological features such as lowlands or mountain ranges impacting climate differently in different places. However, much of Africa is dominated by the massive Sahara desert, and the continent is home to a huge proportion of the planet’s arid lands.

In addition to desert, tropical and highland climates, Africa is also home to areas that experience a Mediterranean climate. These are located in the northern areas of the country that border the Mediterranean Sea. Natural climate-derived resources, particularly water, are not distributed evenly in Africa. There are parts of Africa where water shortages are a huge issue, while other parts of Africa experience an abundance of rainfall that result in an oversupply of water resources. Africa, including Madagascar, has more than 10 climate zones according to the Koppen-Geiger climate classification system. Some parts of Africa experience regular rain or drought year-round, while other parts of the country experience a distinct rainy and dry season.