Airport Climatology/West Africa

Airport Climatology/West Africa

The Climate of West Africa

The climate of Africa ranges from tropical to subarctic on its highest peaks. Its northern half is primarily desert (Köppen climate classification BWh) or arid (Köppen climate classification BSh), while its central and southern areas contain both savanna plains (Köppen climate classification Aw) and very dense jungle (rainforest) (Köppen climate classification Af) regions. In between, there is a convergence where vegetation patterns such as sahel, and steppe dominate. The north African coast (Morocco and Algeria) and Cape Province in South Africa enjoy Mediterranean climates (Köppen climate classification Csa & Csa). The movement of the Intertropical convergence zone, creates a rainy season across central portions of the continent to the south of the Sahara. Southern Africa receives most of its rain from convective clouds in the summer and frontal systems from the west in the winter.


The following map shows the Köppen climate classification (KCC) for aerodromes across West Africa which are listed on SKYbrary:

Climatic and Weather Phenomena Affecting Aviation in West Africa

  • Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone. - A feature of the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is dense lines of Cumulonimbus (Cb) clouds which can necessitate an aircraft diverging significant distance off track in order to avoid.
  • Cyclones. - The east coast of Africa, particularly Madagascar, is affected by Tropical Revolving Storms originating in the Indian Ocean.
  • Sandstorms. - Sandstorms are common in arid and semi-arid areas, particularly the Sahara.

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