Climate Change Overview

Country Summary

This page presents high-level information for Liberia'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 Liberia's country context and climate is provided following the visualizations.

Liberia is situated in the center of the Upper Guinea Rainforest Region along the West Coast of Africa. This region is one of the most biologically diverse and was originally covered by continuous, dense tropical rainforest, ranging from Guinea, south through to Ghana. Liberia has a predominantly equatorial climate, with three distinct topographical belts. The low coastal belt is about 40 kilometer (km) wide, and constitutes tidal creeks, shallow lagoons, and mangrove marshes. Moving inward, the second belt includes rolling hills that reach elevations of 60–150 meter (m) (200–500 feet). The third belt, comprises the bulk of Liberia, is marked by abrupt changes of elevation in a series of low mountains and plateaus, which are less densely forested. 

Liberia has made significant economic and development progress since the end of its civil war in 2003. However, the country remains fragile and highly vulnerable due to high levels of inequality, unemployment and poverty, with limited access to basic services such as water, sanitation and energy. Liberia has a population of 5 million people (2020) with a current population growth rate at of 2.4% (2019). Approximately 51.6% of the population currently live in urban areas and this is projected to increase to 57.3% and 68.2% of the population by 2030 and 2050, respectively. According to 2019 data, the country’s GDP is dominated by the agriculture sector (inclusive of fishing and forestry), which accounts for 34.2% of GDP and the industry sector (including mining, construction, electricity, water and gas), which contributes 12.2% of GDP. Liberia is highly vulnerable to adverse effects of climate change. Liberia is also highly vulnerable to environmental instability due to its extreme poverty and high dependence on ‘climate sensitive’ sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and energy and mining.  

Agriculture, fisheries and forestry are instrumental to Liberia’s inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction goals. High reliance on climate-sensitive activities renders Liberia vulnerable to climate variability and change, expected to manifest in higher temperatures, more extreme weather events such as heavy rains, and rising sea levels. The country has identified urban and coastal development, sea level rise, and potential salinization of coastal areas as key areas for climate change adaptation portfolios.