Climate Change Overview

Country Summary

This page presents high-level information for Kenya's climate zones and its seasonal cycle for mean temperature and precipitation for the latest climatology, 1991-2020. Climate zone classifications are derived from the Köppen-Geiger climate classification system, which divides climates into five main climate groups divided based on seasonal precipitation and temperature patterns. The five main groups are A (tropical), B (dry), C (temperate), D (continental), and E (polar). All climates except for those in the E group are assigned a seasonal precipitation sub-group (second letter).  Climate classifications are identified by hovering your mouse over the legend. A narrative overview of Kenya's country context and climate is provided following the visualizations.

The Republic of Kenya, located in East Africa, covers a total land area of 582,646 km2, which includes varied formations of plains, escarpments, and hills, as well as low and high mountains. Starting east along the coast, low plateaus run inland (west) to an elevated plateau and mountain ranges, marked by the Kenyan highlands in the southwest corner of the country. Kenya shares borders with Ethiopia to the north, South Sudan and Uganda to the northwest and west, and Tanzania to the south. The country’s southeast coastline borders the Indian Ocean. Approximately 85% of Kenya’s land area is classified as a fragile arid and semi-arid ecosystem, which is largely pastoral.  

The country’s highlands are home to the majority of the population and also host significant farm lands. Highlands are relatively cool and agriculturally rich, and are largely dominated by commercial and small-holder farms. Principal cash crops include tea, coffee, flowers, veges, pyrethrum. Wheat and maize, as well as livestock production is also practiced across the highlands, which lie at 1,500 to 3,000 m above sea level. The Great Rift Valley bisects the highlands into an east and west region forming a steep sided trench of 48 to 64 km wide and 600 to 900 m deep.

Kenya, while considered a lower middle-income country, has the largest economy in East Africa. It has a population of 54 million people (2020). Over a quarter of Kenya’s population currently lives in urban areas. This is projected to increase to 33% and 46% of the population by 2030 and 2050, respectively. Kenya had continued to implement significant economic and structural reforms, which have helped to sustain economic growth and political gains over the past decade. Key challenges continue to be seen in the country’s inequality and poverty levels, which has increased the country’s economic vulnerability to shocks.

Kenya aims to become a newly industrialized country by 2030, which will require expanding climate change resilience efforts while also increasing its domestic energy production; including through the use of renewable sources. Adaptation efforts are focused on the country’s energy, infrastructure, land use and environment, health, water and irrigation, agriculture, and tourism sectors. Kenya is working to meet these goals and adhere to its climate change strategies by investing in strategic actions such as afforestation and reforestation, geothermal energy production and other clean energy development, as well as climate smart agriculture, and drought management.