Climate is an average pattern of weather
and temperature over a period of time. It is a regions climate,
together with physical landscape, that determines plant life found
The climate is influenced by its latitude or how far to the north
or south of the equator
it lays. Regions around the equator are the hottest in the world.
Closer to the poles, the colder it gets. Africa's climatic zones
fall into three broad categories: humid equatorial, dry, and humid
In West and Central Africa, along the Guinea Coast, in Gabon, Cameroon,
Democratic Republic of the Congo, northeastern Republic of the Congo,
and in East Africa south of the equator in Tanzania, Mozambique,
and Madagascar the climate is humid.
The regions nearest the equator receive year-round rainfall, while
those north and south of it experience short dry winters and a lower
average annual amount of rainfall.
Where the dry seasons are long enough, equatorial
regions give way to dry regions. In the north the Sahel desert
stretches from east to west through Mali, Niger, Chad, and Sudan
and borders the Sahara.
In the deserts
themselves, rainfall is extremely scarce and temperatures are
very extreme. Although the daytime temperatures in the desert
are high, due to the lack of plants and moisture, nights can be
extremely cold. The coastal regions of North Africa and southern
tip of Africa experience temperate or "Mediterranean"
weather, including dry summers and wet winters, due to their proximity
to the oceans.