Fires and Smoke in East Africa • Earth.com Fires and Smoke in East Africa

Last update: December 6th, 2019 at 8:00 am

Fires and Smoke in East Africa. Represented by red dots, active fires cover much of Mozambique, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Malawi in this Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image captured by the Aqua satellite on August 25, 2003.

The climate of East Africa is rather atypical of equatorial regions. Because of a combination of the region’s generally high altitude and the rain shadow of the westerly monsoon winds created by the Rwenzori Mountains and Ethiopian Highlands. Therefore East Africa is surprisingly cool and dry for its latitude. In fact, on the coast of Somalia, many years can go by without any rain whatsoever. Elsewhere the annual rainfall generally increases towards the south and with altitude, being around 400 mm (16 in) at Mogadishu and 1,200 mm (47 in) at Mombasa on the coast, whilst inland it increases from around 130 mm (5 in) at Garoowe to over 1,100 mm (43 in) at Moshi near Kilimanjaro. Unusually, most of the rain falls in two distinct wet seasons, one centred on April and the other in October or November. This is usually attributed to the passage of the Intertropical Convergence Zone across the region in those months. Also it may also be analogous to the autumn monsoon rains of parts of Sri Lanka, Vietnam and the Brazilian Nordeste

 

Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

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