Current Climate

Climatology

This page presents Nigeria'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.

Nigeria is characterized by three distinct climate zones, a tropical monsoon climate in the south, a tropical savannah climate for most of the central regions, and a Sahelian hot and semi-arid climate in the north of the country. This leads to a gradient of declining precipitation amounts from south to north. The southern regions experience strong rainfall events during the rainy season from March to October with annual rainfall amounts, usually above 2,000 mm, and can reach 4,000 mm and more in the Niger Delta. 

The central regions are governed by a well-defined single rainy season (April to September) and dry season (December to March). The dry season is influenced by the Harmattan wind from the Sahara. Coastal areas experience a short drier season with most rain occurring over March to October. Annual rainfall can reach up to about 1200 mm. In the north, rain only falls from June to September in the range of 500 mm to 750 mm. The rest of the year is hot and dry. Northern areas have a high degree of annual variation in its rainfall regime, which results in flooding and droughts. 

The most significant temperature difference in Nigeria is between the coastal areas and its interior as well as between the plateau and the lowlands. On the plateau, the mean annual temperature varies between 21°C and 27°C whereas in the interior lowlands, temperatures are generally over 27°C. The coastal fringes have lower means than the interior lowlands. Seasonal mean temperatures are consistently over 20℃ throughout the country and diurnal variations are more pronounced than seasonal ones. Highest temperatures occur during the dry season, and vary little from the coast to inland areas.  Similar to rainfall, the relative humidity in Nigeria decreases from the south to the north, with an annual mean of 88% around Lagos. 

Mean annual temperature for Nigeria is 26.9°C , with average monthly temperatures ranging between 24°C (December, January) and 30°C (April). Mean annual precipitation is 1,165.0 mm. Rainfall is experienced throughout the year in Nigeria, with most significant rainfall occurring from April to October and with minimal rainfall occurring November to March.

Temperature

  • For the country, temperature increases of 0.03°C per decade were observed between 1901-2016, with stronger increases occurring over the last 30 years of 0.19°C per decade. 

Precipitation

  • In Nigeria, precipitation trends have a high degree of variability and the last several decades have observed a decrease in the predictability for seasonal rains across the country. 
  • Overall, rainfall has decreased incrementally across the country since the 1960s.