Climate Change Overview

Country Summary

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

Namibia is situated in the south-western region of the African continent, between latitude 17°S and 29°S and longitude 11°E and 26°E. The country covers a land area of 825,418 km2 and has a 1,500 km long coastline on the South Atlantic Ocean. Namibia shares borders with Angola to the north, South Africa to the south, Botswana to the east and Zambia in the northeast. The country’s climate is predominantly arid with two desserts namely the Namib and the Kalahari taking over a large portion of the country’s land to the east and the west respectively. Aridity reduces towards the central plateau regions and the great escarpment located between the central plateau and the Namib desert. Namibia’s climate consists of persistent droughts, unpredictable and variable rainfall patterns, high temperature variability and scarcity of water. 

Namibia is an upper middle-income country, largely due to the country’s natural mineral wealth and relatively small population. While Namibia has been able to reduce its poverty rates, job creation continues to stagnate and extreme socio-economic inequalities from the country’s past apartheid system continue to persist. Namibia has a population of nearly 2.5 million people (2019), growing at a rate of 1.9% (2019) and is expected to reach 3.01 million and 3.98 million in 2030 and 2050, respectively. Currently 50% of the population lives in urban areas, primarily the capital city of Whinnock, and this is expected to increase to 61% and 72% by 2030 and 2050, respectively.  

Namibia is one of the largest and driest countries in sub-Saharan Africa, with highly unpredictable precipitation patterns. The country’s poverty and reliance on rain-fed agricultural and livestock increases the country’s vulnerability to climate change and limits the capacity of poor households and communities to manage climate risk, increasing their vulnerability to climate-related shocks.  

Climate change is expected to have significant impacts on key economic sectors and livelihoods in the country. Rising temperatures and increasing extreme heat conditions, uncertain and increasingly unpredictable rainfall and extreme weather will induce new challenges and exacerbate existing ones. Epidemics of water and vector borne diseases may increase and previously eliminated diseases re-emerge. Staple crop production will decline, and rangelands will deteriorate thereby affecting livestock production and rural livelihoods and incomes. Rising sea-levels and warming is likely to affect fish stocks, coastal livelihoods, natural ecosystems, and tourist activity. All in all, the effects of climate change and variability could result in annual decrease of GDP of 6.5%, thereby hindering economic development. 

Namibia has prioritized key adaptation efforts around food security, water resources, human health, infrastructure, biodiversity, energy, tourism, coastal zones, urban development, and sustainable resource base management.