Explore historical and projected climate data, climate data by sector, impacts, key vulnerabilities and what adaptation measures are being taken. Explore the overview for a general context of how climate change is affecting Malawi.

Country Summary

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

Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification, 1991-2020
  • Af
  • Am
  • As/Aw
  • BWh
  • BWk
  • BSh
  • BSk
  • Csa
  • Csb
  • Csc
  • Cwa
  • Cwb
  • Cwc
  • Cfa
  • Cfb
  • Cfc
  • Dsa
  • Dsb
  • Dsc
  • Dsd
  • Dwa
  • Dwb
  • Dwc
  • Dwd
  • Dfa
  • Dfb
  • Dfc
  • Dfd
  • ET
  • EF

Located in southern Africa, Malawi is a small, densely populated, landlocked country with one of the lowest levels of per capita income in the world. Malawi’s poverty levels have remained largely unchanged over the past 10 or more years, as economic growth and development have stagnated due to widespread emigration, HIV/AIDS, a deteriorating infrastructure, macroeconomic instability, limited competitiveness of Malawian products in international markets, and a rapid population growth rate. Malawi’s topography is varied, with the Great Rift Valley that contains Lake Malawi (one of Africa’s largest, longest lakes) stretching from north to south and highland peaks surrounding. While the country’s climate is tropical overall, temperatures in higher elevations can be relatively cool. The flood plains, wetlands, and forests of the Lower Shire Valley are particularly vulnerable to climate change, with drought and flood disasters currently directly affecting over half a million people. 

The Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining released the first national climate change policy in 2013 with the goal to promote adaptation and mitigation for sustainable livelihoods. The framework addresses adaptation, mitigation, capacity building, research and technology transfer and financing. The priority for Malawi is adaptation and it is reflected in the policy framework which lists a number of initiatives. The country’s Nationally Determined Contribution states that a new policy is undergoing approval process by cabinet. Malawi ratified the Paris Agreement on June 29, 2017.