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S.3 Geography Notes

Savanna climate/Tropical Continental Climate/Sudan type of climate


It occurs between 50 and 15 0 north and south of the equator.  It a transitional type of climate found between the equatorial forests and the trade wind hot deserts. It is confined within the tropics and is best developed in the Sudan where the dry and wet seasons are most distinct, hence its name the Sudan climate.  The belt includes West African Sudan, and then curves southwards into East Africa and southern Africa north of the Tropic of Capricorn. Tropical continental climate is characterized by:

  • An alternate hot, rainy season and cool, dry season.
  • Summers are hot with temperatures over 300c.
  • Winters are cooler with temperatures hovers between 210c and 260c.
  • The annual temperature range is moderate which is about 110c
  • The highest temperatures occur just before the rainy season begins in April in the northern hemisphere and October in the southern hemisphere.
  • Rainfall varies between1700mm (heavy rainfall) towards the equator to less than 500 mm (unreliable rainfall) towards the semi desert margins.
  • The wet season associated with the apparent movement of the sun.
  • Heavy rains, mainly convection rain, occur in the summer.The rains are caused by the doldrums which move over the regions in this season
  • Very little rain falls in the cooler season because these regions lie under the offshore trade winds. Some regions the offshore winds are strong, hot and dusty, for example the Harmattan of north and West Africa.
  • Both the length of the rainy season and annual total rainfall decrease appreciably from the equatorial region pole wards towards the desert fringes.
  • Humidity is high during the wet season and low during the dry season.

Summary: hot throughout the year with rain occurring in the summer only and with dry, dusty winds blowing in the winter

Economic activities carried of the Savanna climatic zone:

  • The savanna climate supports wild life conservation because the trees and grass are good habitats for wild life. Hence, they are areas of National Parks
  • Savanna climate is favourable for livestock farming – pastoralism
  • This type of climate is suitable for arable farming especially growing of annual crops such as cotton, ground nuts in west Africa and millet
  • The climate attracts human activities such as tourism and safari rallies
  • Lumbering also takes place in the woodlands that are supported by the climate.
  • Forestry activities

Problems experienced in the area:

  • The climate and vegetation conditions attract pests like tsetse flies
  • There is a lot of soil erosion due to flash floods in summer.
  • The unreliable rainfall limits the development of agriculture
  • At times the swamps and generally flat lands get flooded in the region


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