UNDP Climate Change Country Profiles: Tanzania Page: 1
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UNDP Climate Change Country Profiles
C McSweeney', M. New' and G. Lizcano'
1 School of Geography and Environment, University of Oxford
2 Tyndall Centre for Clihrnate Change Research /
http //country-profiles geog ox ac uk S /
Tanzania lies just south of the equator, at 1 -11"S and has a tropical climate with regional variations
due to topography With the exception of a narrow coastal strip, most of Tanzania is highland The
greater partof Tanzania is a central plateau of around 900 -1800m, punctuated with mountain
ranges (including Kilimanjaro, 5895m) The coastal regions of Tanzania are warm and humid, with
temperatures 25 to 17"C through most of the year, dipping just below 25"C in the coolest months
(JJAS) The highland regions are more temperate, with temperatures around 20 23"C throughout
the year, dropping byonlya degree orso in JJAS
Seasonal rainfall in Tanzania is driven mainly by the migration of the Inter Tropical Convergence
Zone (ITCZ), relatively narrow belt of very low pressure and heavy precipitation that forms near the
earth's equator The exact position of the ITCZ changes over the course of the year, migrating
southwards through Tanzania in Octoberto December, reaching the south of the country in January
and February, and returning northwards in March, April and May This causes the north and east of
Tanzania experiences two distinct wet periods the 'short' rains in October to December and the
'long' rains in March to May, whilst the southern, western and central parts of the country
experience one wet season that continues October through to April or May The amount of rainfall
falling in these seasons is usually 50 200mm per month but varies greatly between regions, and can
be as much as 300mm per month in the wettest regions and seasons The movements of the ITCZ
are sensitive to variations in Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures and vary from year to year,
hence the onset, duration and intensity ofthese rainfallsvary considerably inter annually One of
the most well documented ocean influences on rainfall in this region is the El Nino Southern
Oscillation (ENSO) El Nino episodes usually cause greater than average rainfalls in the short rainfall
season (OND), whilst cold phases (La Nina) bring a drier than average season
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McSweeney, C.; New, M. & Lizcano, G. UNDP Climate Change Country Profiles: Tanzania, text, January 2006; 304 East 45th Street, Fl. 9 New York, NY 10017. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc226754/m1/1/: accessed March 3, 2024), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; .