If you wish to contribute or participate in the discussions about articles you are invited to join SKYbrary as a registered user



Airport Climatology/West Africa

From SKYbrary Wiki

Article Information
Category: Weather Weather
Content source: SKYbrary About SKYbrary
Content control: SKYbrary About SKYbrary
Tag(s) Climatic Phenomena

back to Airport Climatology

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: {{#compound_query: AirportEmpty;?Airport_Name; | Concept:West AfricaAf;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Af.png | Concept:West AfricaAm;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Am.png | Concept:West AfricaAw;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Aw.png | Concept:West AfricaBWh;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=BWh.png | Concept:West AfricaBWk;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Bwk.png | Concept:West AfricaBSh;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Bsh.png | Concept:West AfricaBSk;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Bsk.png | Concept:West AfricaCsa;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Csa.png | Concept:West AfricaCsb;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Csb.png | Concept:West AfricaCwa;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Cwa.png | Concept:West AfricaCwb;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Cwb.png | Concept:West AfricaCwc;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Cwc.png | Concept:West AfricaCfa;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Cfa.png | Concept:West AfricaCfb;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Cfb.png | Concept:West AfricaCfc;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Cfc.png | Concept:West AfricaDsa;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Dsa.png | Concept:West AfricaDsb;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Dsb.png | Concept:West AfricaDsc;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Dsc.png | Concept:West AfricaDsd;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Dsd.png | Concept:West AfricaDwa;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Dwa.png | Concept:West AfricaDwb;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Dwb.png | Concept:West AfricaDwc;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Dwc.png | Concept:West AfricaDwd;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Dwd.png | Concept:West AfricaDfa;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Dfa.png | Concept:West AfricaDfb;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Dfb.png | Concept:West AfricaDfc;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Dfc.png | Concept:West AfricaDfd;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=Dfd.png | Concept:West AfricaET;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=ET.png | Concept:West AfricaEF;?Coordinates;?Airport_Name=;?KCC;icon=EF.png | format=googlemaps | width=950 }}

   Af: equatorial climate
   Am: monsoon climate
   Aw: tropical savannah climate
   BWh: warm desert climate
   Bwk: cold desert climate
   Bsh: warm semi-arid climate
   Bsk: cold semi-arid climate
   Csa: warm Mediterranean climate
   Csb: temperate Mediterranean climate
   Cwa: humid subtropical climate
   Cwb: temperate China climate
   Cwc: cool China climate
   Cfa: warm oceanic climate/ humid subtropical climate
   Cfb: temperate oceanic climate
   Cfc: cool oceanic climate
   Dsa: warm continental climate/ Mediterranean continental climate
   Dsb: temperate continental climate/ Mediterranean continental climate
   Dsc: cool continental climate
   Dsd: cold continental climate
   Dwa: warm continental climate/ humid continental climate
   Dwb: temperate continental climate/ humid continental climate
   Dwc: cool continental climate/ subarctic climate
   Dwd: cold continental climate/ subarctic climate
   Dfa: warm continental climate/ humid continental climate
   Dfb: temperate continental climate/ humid continental climate
   Dfc: cool continental climate/ subarctic climate
   Dfd: cold continental climate/ subarctic climate
   ET: tundra climate
   EF: ice cap climate

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.