Sierra Leone

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 Sierra Leone.

Country Summary

This page presents high-level information for Sierra Leone'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 Sierra Leone'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

Sierra Leone is located in West Africa between the Republic of Guinea in the north and the Republic of Liberia to the southeast. The western border stretches for 465 kilometers along the Atlantic Ocean. It is situated in the northern hemisphere between latitudes 7° and 10° N and longitudes 10° and 13° W and spans for 72,325 square kilometers. Coastal plains, interior lowland plains, plateaus, hills, and mountains characterize Sierra Leone and the country is endowed with substantial natural resources: mineral deposits, fertile agricultural land, and a deep natural harbor. About 80-90% of the 6.1 million inhabitants reside in rural areas and most of the population derives their income from natural resources. Agriculture comprises the largest sector of the economy, accounting for 35-47% of GDP, and employing over 65% of the working population. The mining sector is another important segment of the economy and has great potential for growth. GDP grew by 15.2% in 2012, mainly due to the beginning of iron-ore production, while agricultural production, services and construction, and spending contributed to about 5% of this growth. Growth declined to 13% in 2013-2014. Problems with poor infrastructure, low capacity, youth unemployment, high maternal and infant mortality, widespread rural impoverishment, the impact of the global financial crisis, and lapses in financial management and governance remain barriers to growth. The majority of the population lives in poverty (52.9%) and is heavily concentrated in rural areas. Sierra Leone is positioned in the low human development category and placed at 183 out of 187 countries on the 2014 United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report. Underemployment among men, a high youth unemployment rate (60%), as well as public health - life expectancy is extremely low (less than 40 years) and high infant and maternal mortality rates - remain as obstacles. Climate change threatens food security and the livelihoods of most of the population. Priority adaptation strategies include the development and enactment of policies and regulations for the development of coastal communities; livelihood diversification; urban growth planning; establishment of a national sea level observing system; coastal ecosystems preservation; and conservation of critical ecosystems.