This page presents Ethiopia'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. Data for specific coordinates can be downloaded for in the Data Download page.
Observed, historical data is produced by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of University of East Anglia. Data is presented at a 0.5º x 0.5º (50km x 50km) resolution.
Ethiopia’s large land area and diverse topography results in different climates across the country as well as temperature and precipitation disparity across its regions. Ethiopia’s equatorial rainforests in the south and southwest are characterized by high rainfall and humidity, while the Afro-Alpine on the summits of the Semien and Bale mountains, and the north-east, east and south-east lowlands experiencing desert-like conditions. The highland regions in the center and north of the country experience cooler climates. The eastern corner of the country is very arid and experiences very little rainfall. Seasonal rainfall in Ethiopia is driven mainly by the migration of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and there is strong inter-annual variability of rainfall across the country. Ethiopia has three rainfall seasons: Bega, Belg, and Kiremt. The primary rainy season, Kiremt, occurs from mid-June to mid-September and accounts for 50–80% of annual rainfall. Parts of central and northern Ethiopia experience a sporadic, secondary wet-season, Belg, which often has considerably less rainfall and occurs from February to May. Southern regions of Ethiopia experience two distinct wet seasons, Belg, from February to May, and Bega occurring from October to December, which has drier and colder conditions. 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 –15°C over the highlands, to above 25°C in the lowlands.