This is it, our last country feature in the history of our site’s history, and we will end it all with Morocco, on the northwestern coast of Africa, just across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain. There is a surprisingly wide array of climate types in Morocco, from the north and west coasts, which primarily have a Mediterranean climate. The Atlas Mountains are steep and high enough that there is a wintry climate there, with temperatures often dipping below freezing, with snow falling in the winter. The most famous part of the country’s climate is perhaps the Sahara. Some of the worlds tallest dunes are found in Morocco on the eastern side of the Atlas mountains and south into their occupied territory of Western Sahara.
The Moroccan meteorological service is known as the Direction de la Météorologie Nationale. As you might be able to tell, French is the primary language in Morocco and on the website. Still, it’s easy just by looking at the site to find the radar and satellite pages, which are better than most sites in Africa. OF course, right now things are fairly quiet, but the Moroccan radar can light up with thunderstorms, usually along the mountains.
That’s it! That’s the country feature. If you have any ideas for the future of the site, please let us know!
We only have two nations left in our country feature, and tonight’s is the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu. Vanuatu is far enough south that they can see some tropical waves pass over the island. They are due east of Brisbane, Australia, so they are in more of a subtropical latitude, but surrounded by water as they are, Vanuatu’s cool season isn’t all that cool, and the dry season isn’t all that dry. Tropical season is from December to April, so it just ended.
Vanuatu Meteorological Services features 7 observation stations and a staff of 8. Their website has forecasts for all the islands in the country on the main page, as well as options to look at the local satellite. There is an area to click and see the current pressure charts (of which the gradient is nonexistent right now). It’s a fairly basic site right now, but I suspect it gets a little busier during tropical season.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as it’s officially known, makes up most of the Arabian Peninsula, sharing it with Yemen, Oman, and the U.A.E. Most of the eastern and southern halves of the country are dominated by desert, and seemingly only western portions of the country (which contain 2 different mountain ranges) get more than 20″ of precip a year. Places along the Persian Gulf experience some of the highest dew points in the world, with normal temperatures often cracking 100-110 degrees and dew points well into the 80s at times (a temp of 110 and dew point of 85 produces a Heat Index of a brain-blistering 145 degrees. Yikes.). Not exactly what one would think of when thinking of a country with the largest continuous sand area, but alas, there we have it. Only 2% of the country contains arable land, which greatly explains why 70% of the exports of the country is oil.
The Presidency of Meteorology and Environment is the country’s governing body, and has an operational website. However, I am not an expert of Arabic, so I cannot go into much detail about the site.
This week we take you to a country not terribly far from our own, just a quick jaunt to the southeast from Florida we come to the Caribbean country of Dominican Republic. Other than being a hotbed of baseball activity, they have a fairly active tropical climate. Hurricanes are a constant threat during the summer and fall seasons, and often have diurnal convection pop off over the mountains that comprise the southwestern portion of the country. Temperatures vary little throughout the year as well, with the average temperature at the nation’s capital of Santo Domingo varying from 24 deg C in January to 27 deg C in July. While average rainfall over the northern half of the country is around 50″ or so, with some mountainous areas creeping towards 100″ in extreme cases, the southern side of the mountains are subject to the rain shadow effect, with some areas only getting 20-30″ of rain annually. Most of the country’s more populated areas are found along the coast in the southeast part of the island, taking advantage of the nearly constant beautiful weather that the D.R. gets to enjoy.
The Oficina Nacional de Meteorología is the country’s governing body and has a fairly informed website. On the home page there are a few different satellite views of the Caribbean and most of the Tropical Atlantic, along with links to climatic data, the history of the National Meteorological Office, an extended outlook, among other things. Sadly, the links for the radar sites aren’t operational at this time, but otherwise, if you’ve brushed up on your Spanish recently, there’s a wealth of information to deduce.
This whole investigation of every country in the world started a few years ago in Rwanda, and now with just a few more weeks left, we are stopping by Rwanda’s southern neighbor, Burundi.
Burundi is an impoverished nation in the heart of Africa that is landlocked in the “Great Lakes” of Africa, meaning the elevation isn’t terribly high, though most of the country is in a plateau. The country sees a hot, humid equatorial climate that is not really well moderated by elevation, either to the east or west, or in country. It isn’t exactly a rain forest, but it’s very close.
Burundi has a meteorological institute, but it does not have a website.
We are creeping towards the finish line with out country feature here at Victoria-Weather, and today’s forecast is our last in South America. Ecuador is populated most densely in the high elevations of the Andes, and as such is generally a bit cooler where people live than it is in lower elevations, such as on the coast or in the fringes of Amazonia. Even so, the country is far enough south that there is little temperature variation through the year. Instead, Ecuador contends with a variation in rain fall as the ITCZ chifts north and south through the year, a pattern that defines the nation’s seasons. The wettest part of the country is in the eastern slope of the Andes, which catch the Amazonian moisture as it drifts west from Brazil. Given an oceanic current pointed at the coast, however, there really is no point at which Ecuador can be considered “dry”.
The Insitituto Nacional de Meteorologia e Hidrologia (INAMHI) is the Ecuadorian Weather Bureau. The curious thing is that they have an English version which only offers a link back to the Spanish site. From what I can tell, the site has forecasts including maps of forecast precipitation (prognosticos –> meteorologio) and some model data for the larger cities in the small South American nation. Unfortunately, since the site is in Spanish, it’s tough to dig too much deeper than those initial preliminary facts on the main page. Ecuador is generally one of the more stable nations in South America, so it would have been nice to be able to understand their site so I could find out about INAMHI. One more reason to learn Espanol.
There are a few countries in the world that I have no idea what the weather is like. For example, Syria has been home to advanced civilization for thousands of years, with Damascus being one of the oldest settlements in the world, but at the same time it strikes me as an arid wasteland.
It’s something in between. It is hot and dry for most of the year, however along the Mediterranean coast and in areas where moisture gets funneled into the northern steppes, there is substantially more moisture. Of course, Damascus doesn’t lie in this region, simply along a river that is rarely flowing. Strange.
The Ministry of Defense is home to the Meteorology department, but there is no web site to show you.
This week we investigate the climate and meteorological happenings of a country that’s been all over the news in the last month, Libya. The civil unrest there has been plastered all over the internet and news stations, but one thing you haven’t seen in all of those reports… is rain. Libya is over 90% desert, despite bordering the Mediterranean Sea, and holds a rather impressive distinction. On September 13, 1922, the temperature at Al ‘Aziziyah, a small town southwest of Tripoli in the far northwestern part of the country, reached a scorching 136deg F (57.8C), currently recognized as the official world record for hottest surface temperature ever recorded in a natural setting (although this record is not without controversy). Several years, or even decades in some cases, can pass without some areas of the Libyan Desert seeing precipitation. Without a doubt, Libya is one of the most arid countries on Earth.
The Libyan National Meteorological Centre is the nation’s governing body, but the site in non-operational. Hopefully the unrest there settles down soon.
No no, this isn’t the Georgia north of Florida. Today, we are taking a look at the Georgia in between the Black and Caspian Seas. It is part of the former Soviet Union, and, believe it or not, is the last country in Europe we will ever do in the country series. We are that close to the end of the line with this series!
Georgia has a line of mountains, the Caucasus, just off to their north which prevents cold air from pooling in. A range of mountains through the heart of the country divides the eastern and western halves of the country into two separate climactic regions. The western half of the country borders the Black Sea and gets the warm, subtropic flow directly from the Mediterranean, and thereby tends to be hot, humid and rainy, particularly in the summer months. East of the mountains, a drier but more variable climate persists, much like the center of the United States. Less humidity means hotter summers and colder winters.
Georgia does have a hydrometeorological service, however their website is labeled as an attack site… so that sucks.
Sao Tome and Principe is an island nation found in the Bight of Guinea, which is the bend in the west African coast. On the quiz site Sporcle, it is commonly listed as one of the “most forgotten” countries. No porblem with our memories! It lies right along the equator, which means, as you can imagine, it stays very warm there all year long. Additionally, streams of tropical moisture are uninhibited by mountains in central Africa, because there aren’t any massive ranges. In fact, the only mountains of any pertinence to the climate of Sao Tome is the island itself. Higher elevations see temperatures averaging around 70 degrees, a welcome relief to the steamy coasts.
The Institut National de Météorologie exists, and operates in some manner, assuredly, however they do not have a website.