Mauritania Weather and Climate
With an area of more than 1 million km², the Islamic Republic of Mauritania is almost three times the size of the Federal Republic of Germany and is one of the largest countries in the world (world rank 28). The north-west African state borders the Western Sahara and Algeria in the north and Mali in the east. In the south, the Senegal River forms the border with Senegal. The coast of Mauritania stretches for 754 km. The longest stretch from west to east is 1,150 km, from north to south 1,400 km.
This demarcation is the result of the European colonial policy of the 19th century. By the General Act of the Berlin Conference from 1885 on the division of Africa among the then great powers, Mauritania became part of the French sphere of influence.
The climate is characterized by high temperatures and sparse and irregular rainfall. The annual temperature fluctuations are small; however, large daily fluctuations can occur in the desert.
Most of the rain falls during the short rainy season (hivernage), from July to September, and the average annual precipitation varies from 400 millimeters in the extreme south to less than 100 millimeters in the north.
Mauritania can be divided into three climatic zones.
Inland there is a hot, dry desert climate with large temperature differences between day and night. In this desert region of Mauritania, daytime temperatures of well over 40 °C are usually reached.
On the coast between Nouadhibou and Nouakchott, the temperatures are milder than inland due to the proximity of the Atlantic. In Nouakchott, the capital by the sea, temperatures average 28 °C in July and 21 °C in January. In the months of August and September there is high humidity in the coastal area of Mauritania.
In the area along the Senegal River, temperatures are very high for more than half of the year and humidity is high all year round. There is a rainy season from July to October with a total of up to 400 mm of precipitation.
The Harmattan, a hot, dry and often dust-laden wind, blows from the Sahara during the long dry season and is the predominant wind, except on the narrow coastal strip, which is influenced by oceanic trade winds.
The climate diagrams worldwide provide a climate cross-section for some larger Mauritanian cities.