Ethiopia’s large land area and diverse topography results in different climates across the country. Thus, Ethiopia’s climate is tropical in the south-east and north-east lowlands and cooler in the highland regions in the central and north of the country. Seasonal rainfall is driven mainly by the migration of the Inter‐Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Mean annual rainfall distribution is approximately 2,000 mm over the south-western highlands and less than 300 mm over the south-eastern and north-eastern lowlands. Temperatures across Ethiopia can range from below 15ºC, over the highlands to above 25ºC in the lowlands. Key historical climate trends summarized in the Ethiopia Climate Risk Country Profile include:
- Average temperatures in Ethiopia have increased by an average of 1ºC since 1960 at an average rate of 0.25ºC per decade; most noticeable increases have occurred July through September.
- The average number of ‘hot nights’ (the hottest 10% of nights annually) increased by 37.5% between 1960 and 2003 and the average number of ‘hot days’ per year, increased by 20%.
- Long-term trends in rainfall are difficult to determine for Ethiopia due to strong inter‐annual and inter‐decadal variability in rainfall data.
- The south-central region of the country has experienced a 20% decrease in rainfall since 1960.
- The rise of sea surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean influences the migration of the ITCZ which can further increase variability in the timing and duration of rainfall seasons, altering traditional rainfall patterns and cause more frequent drought.
This section provides the options to visualize historical climate data for different timeframes via map and annual cycle chart.