Within a long day travel from the Sahara desert edge in Mauritania or Mali to the wooded savannas and humid forests in Guinea the average rainfall increases from 100 mm annually or less in the north (latitude 17 ºN) to about 2000 mm in the deep south (latitude 10 ºN). This translates in a rapid change of landscape and associated land cover and land use. The weather in West Africa is characterised by a distinct seasonal timing and huge variation in annual rainfall. Periods of severe droughts in the 1970s and 1980s are part of the collective memory.
Weather and climate are monitored and forecasted in Mali and Guinea already for long time by respectively Meteo Mali (DNM, Direction Nationale de la Météorologie) and the DNM in Guinea. In addition to the daily monitoring of weather stations, satellite imagery today is an important means to forecast and monitor weather and weather changes. In this Observatory we focus on rainfall data; for other meteo data we refer to the national directories, or World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
In this Section you find information on recent and forecasted rainfall in West Africa, in particular in the Upper Niger Basin. Short background information on rainfall and rainfall patterns in the Sahel is given, in addition to historic data of rainfall in the Upper Niger Basin and Inner Niger Delta. This Section is completed with a short overview of the current knowledge on climate change in the West Africa region, relevant to the Mali and Guinea.