Ethiopia Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Ethiopia?

Overview:

Ethiopia, part of the Horn of Africa, borders Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, and Djibouti. It has an area of 1,127,127 square kilometers, slightly less than twice the size of Texas. Only 12% of the total land area is arable, with about 85% of the people dependent on agriculture or animal husbandry for subsistence.

The terrain consists of high plateaus, mountains, and dry lowland plains. Ethiopia has some of the world’s most rugged and beautiful scenery. Changes in vegetation and terrain offer striking differences and are readily apparent when traveling in any direction from Addis Ababa. Fertile farmland, high mountains with crater lakes, deep canyons and abysses, low-lying savannas, and deserts are some of the many aspects of Ethiopia’s topography.

Geography - note:

landlocked - entire coastline along the Red Sea was lost with the de jure independence of Eritrea on 24 May 1993; Ethiopia is, therefore, the most populous landlocked country in the world; the Blue Nile, the chief headstream of the Nile by water volume, rises in T'ana Hayk (Lake Tana) in northwest Ethiopia; three major crops are believed to have originated in Ethiopia: coffee, grain sorghum, and castor bean

Climate:

The climate varies from temperate in the highlands to hot in the lowlands.


Addis Ababa's altitude is above 8,000 feet. Addis Ababa has two primary seasons: a dry season from October to February, and for the rest of the year, a rainy season, divided into "small rains" and "big rains." The small rains, February through April, are generally intermittent showers. The big rains, June through September or longer, usually bring heavy daily precipitation. The big rains are rarely continuous, and sunny mornings or afternoons can be expected on many days. Average annual rainfall in Addis Ababa is 50 inches.


Daytime temperatures are fairly constant throughout the year. The dry season has bright, sunny days with moderate to cool temperatures; nights are chilly. The average daily temperature in Addis Ababa is 62.9°F. Daytime temperatures are rarely above 80°F. Sharp drops in temperature occur in late afternoon, sometimes making outside entertainment uncomfortable after 5 p.m. Night temperatures drop to the low 40’s from November to January and are warmer in the period from February to May.

Ethiopia Use of Natural Resources

Ethiopia Environment

Climate:

The climate varies from temperate in the highlands to hot in the lowlands.


Addis Ababa's altitude is above 8,000 feet. Addis Ababa has two primary seasons: a dry season from October to February, and for the rest of the year, a rainy season, divided into "small rains" and "big rains." The small rains, February through April, are generally intermittent showers. The big rains, June through September or longer, usually bring heavy daily precipitation. The big rains are rarely continuous, and sunny mornings or afternoons can be expected on many days. Average annual rainfall in Addis Ababa is 50 inches.


Daytime temperatures are fairly constant throughout the year. The dry season has bright, sunny days with moderate to cool temperatures; nights are chilly. The average daily temperature in Addis Ababa is 62.9°F. Daytime temperatures are rarely above 80°F. Sharp drops in temperature occur in late afternoon, sometimes making outside entertainment uncomfortable after 5 p.m. Night temperatures drop to the low 40’s from November to January and are warmer in the period from February to May.

Terrain:

high plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley

Natural Resources:

small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower

Natural Hazards:

geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; frequent droughts

Irrigated Land:

1,118 Square Miles
2,896 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water shortages in some areas from water-intensive farming and poor management

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection

signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea

Ethiopia Geography

Geographic Location Africa
Total Area 426,370 Square Miles
1,104,300 Square Kilometers
Land Area 386,100 Square Miles
1,000,000 Square Kilometers
Water Area 40,270 Square Miles
104,300 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 3,311 Miles
5,328 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 1,118 Square Miles
2,896 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Djibouti 349 km, Eritrea 912 km, Kenya 861 km, Somalia 1,600 km, Sudan 1,606 km
Geographic Coordinates 8 00 N, 38 00 E
Terrain high plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley
Highest Point 4,620 Meters
Highest Point Location Ras Dejen 4,620 m
Lowest Point -125 Meters
Lowest Point Location Denakil Depression -125 m
Natural Resources small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower
Time Zone UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
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