This page presents Egypt's climate context for the current climatology, 1991-2020, derived from observed, historical data. Information should be used to build a strong understanding of current climate conditions in order to appreciate future climate scenarios and projected change. You can visualize data for the current climatology through spatial variation, the seasonal cycle, or as a time series. Analysis is available for both annual and seasonal data. Data presentation defaults to national-scale aggregation, however sub-national data aggregations can be accessed by clicking within a country, on a sub-national unit. Other historical climatologies can be selected from the Time Period dropdown list.
Egypt’s climate is dry, hot, and dominated by desert. It has a mild winter season with rain falling along coastal areas, and a hot and dry summer season (May to September). Daytime temperatures vary by season and change with the prevailing winds. In the coastal regions, temperatures range between average winter minimums of 14°C (November to April) and average summer maximums of 30°C (May to October). Temperatures vary widely in the inland desert areas, especially during the summer, where they range from 7°C at night to 43°C during the day. During winter, temperatures in the desert fluctuate less dramatically, but can reach 0°C at night and as high as 18°C during the day. Egypt also experiences hot wind storms, known as “khamsin”, which carry sand and dust and sweep across the northern coast of Africa. These khamsin storms typically occur between March and May and can increase the temperature by 20°C in two hours; and can last for several days.
Egypt is highly arid country and receives very little annual precipitation. The majority of rain falls along the coast, with the highest amounts of rainfall received in the city of Alexandria; approximately 200 mm of precipitation per year. Alexandria has relatively high humidity, however sea breeze modulates moisture. Precipitation decreases southward and Cairo receives a little more than 10 mm of precipitation each year; although it experiences humidity during the summer months. Areas south of Cairo receive only traces of rainfall, yet can suddenly experience extreme precipitation events resulting in flash floods. Sinai receives somewhat more rainfall than other desert areas, and the region is dotted by numerous wells and oases, which support small population centers that were former focal points on trade routes. Water drains toward the Mediterranean Sea from the main plateau and supplies sufficient moisture to permit some agriculture in the coastal area, particularly near Al Arish. The combination of the country’s high evaporation rate and the virtual absence of permanent surface water over large parts of the country result in water as a highly scarce resource. Primary challenges are centered around water resource availability, changing precipitation patterns and increasing population demands.