Madagascar has a tropical climate that is largely determined by the southeast trade wind. November, with heavy thunderstorms, is the rainiest month, although the east coast has rainfall almost all year round. Summer lasts from November to March when it is very hot with quite a lot of rainfall. The winter season lasts from April to October and then it is drier with somewhat lower temperatures. In the dry season a constant easterly wind blows. Climatically, Madagascar can be divided into six regions:
The rainfall varies greatly from north to south. Most rain falls in the months of November to April. In Majunga in the northwest, an average of 1520 mm falls per year. In Toliara in the southwest, an average of only 360 mm falls per year. The number of dry months is seven to eight. The day and night temperatures differ more the further south you go.
Temperature and rainfall here are influenced by the height differences. For example, the day and night temperatures in the capital Antananarivo can differ by as much as 14 °C. In the winter months, the temperature on the plateau around Antananarivo can drop to freezing point. The rainy season falls in November-December. Most rain falls in Antsirabe, 1400 mm. On the high plains, the temperature rarely rises above 23 °C.
There is no real dry period in the northeast and central areas. The southeast has a somewhat drier, more stable weather type. In February and March it can rain heavily and the chance of cyclones is greatest. Most rain falls in Maroantsetra, 4100 mm per year. The least rain falls in Taolagnaro, 1520 mm per year.
This is the driest area in Madagascar. In the western part only 50 mm falls per year and in the eastern part only 340 mm, usually in the months of November and December.
The climate in the north is very similar to that of the eastern regions, except for the Antsiranana region, which has only 920 mm of rain per year. The rain mainly falls in the months of December to April.
Northwest or Sambirano
Due to its location, this small region has its own climate with regular lots of rain alternated with sunny periods.
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Chelsea House Publishers
CIA - World Factbook
BBC - Country Profiles
Last updated September 2020
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