Somalia occupies the northeastern corner of Africa, often called the Horn of Africa. It is bordered on the west by Ethiopia and on the south by Kenya.
It extends from 2°S to 12°N and has a long coastline on the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden.
For a country so near the equator, it has a surprisingly dry climate. Much of the country is desert or desert scrub. Almost no part has an annual rainfall exceeding 625 mm/25 in and much of it receives less than 250 mm/10 in.
In the north some rain occurs during the season of low sun when temperatures are a little lower, but this area is very dry for the rest of the year (see the table for Berbera). Elsewhere the rainy season is the period of high sun from April to September as in most of Ethiopia.
The rains are very variable from year to year and drought is a constant problem for the nomadic pastoralist.
Temperatures along the east coast from Cape Guardafui southwards are prevented from rising too high by a cold offshore current which makes the sea surface temperature in this part of the Indian Ocean surprisingly low for tropical waters.
This cold water may be one of the reasons for the very low rainfall in much of the country. The table for Mogadishu shows that temperatures vary little from month to month and relative humidity remains high.
By contrast, along the north coast very high temperatures are experienced between April and September as the offshore waters here are very warm. This part of Somalia and the adjoining areas around the Gulf of Aden have a most uncomfortable climate at this time, being very hot and also humid on the coast.
Inland it is even hotter but with lower humidity. Some places here have the highest mean annual temperatures in the world and there is a serious risk of heat exhaustion or even heatstroke during the hottest period.
Sunshine amounts are high in most of the country, averaging eight to ten hours a day around the year. They are lowest on the east coast during the rainy season, when there is more cloud and some coastal fog as warm air passes over the cold sea surface.
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