Current Climate

Climatology

This page presents Gambia, The'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.

The Gambia experiences a Sahelian climate, characterized by a long, dry season (November to May) and a short, wet season (June to October). Average temperatures in Gambia range from 18°C to 30°C during the dry season and 23°C to 33°C during the wet season. In La Niña years, temperatures tend to be cooler than average throughout the year. Average rainfall in a year varies from 1,000 mm in the South and Southeast to 700 mm in the most northern part of the country. The West African monsoon brings rain to the country between June and October.

Temperature

  • In West Africa, air temperatures have noticeably increased since the 1940's, and in the period 1970 to 2010, temperatures have risen with greater magnitude during the latter 20 years, than the former 20 years. 
  • In The Gambia, mean annual temperatures have increased by 1.0°C since 1960, an average rate of 0.21°C per decade. The rate of increase has been most rapid in the months of October, November and December, at 0.32°C per decade.
  • Since the 1950s, routine observation indicates that minimum temperatures across the country have increased steadily at the rate of 0.4 to 0.67°C per decade.

Precipitation

  • Linear trends indicate that wet season (July, August and September) rainfall in The Gambia has decreased significantly between 1960 and 2006, at an average rate of 8.8 mm per month per decade.
  • The length of the rainy season has also been decreasing with increasing variability in inter-annual rainfall. 
  • There are insufficient daily rainfall observations available from which to determine changes in extremes indices of daily rainfall. 

This section provides the options to visualize historical climate data for different timeframes via map and annual cycle chart.