Niger Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Niger?

Overview:

The Republic of Niger covers 1,267,000 square kilometers (490,000 square miles). Landlocked, it is bordered by seven countries. Niger is in the heart of the Sahel, the transitional zone between the tropical West African coast and the Sahara Desert. Northern Niger is part of the Sahara, with vast expanses of rocky and sandy wilderness broken only by occasional oases. "Sahel" in Arabic means "border." From north-central Niger to its northeast corner are the Air and Djado Mountains with peaks rising to 1,850 meters (6,000 feet) while partially arable savanna is found south of the 15th parallel.

Niger's capital city, Niamey, sits on the banks of the Niger River, which flows through much of West Africa and is the 12th longest river in the world and the third-longest in Africa.

Geography - note:

landlocked; one of the hottest countries in the world; northern four-fifths is desert, southern one-fifth is savanna, suitable for livestock and limited agriculture

Climate:

Niamey's climate varies with distinct seasons. April and May are the hottest months, with noontime temperatures often rising above 48°C (118°F) in the shade. Direct sunlight is intense during this period, and at night temperatures remain above 20°C (80°F). In May, the first rains come to the usually parched landscape and with them the planting of millet and sorghum, the major food crops. Niamey gets on average 55.8 centimeters (22 inches) of rainfall between June and September, normally in short torrential downpours preceded by high winds and dust or sand storms. At this time, the surrounding countryside takes on a verdant hue as the crops and the native grasses begin to grow. The rainy season is followed by a short period of hot, humid weather in October during which temperatures range between 15°C (60°F) and 45°C (112°F).

From November to March, the weather is dry and pleasant. During this season, clear days are interspersed with hazy, overcast skies caused by the "harmattan"--a hot, dry wind carrying dust from the Sahara. Normally, the winds stay at high altitudes, creating slightly overcast skies; the harmattan, however, occasionally causes localized dust storms.

Niger Use of Natural Resources

Niger Environment

Climate:

Niamey's climate varies with distinct seasons. April and May are the hottest months, with noontime temperatures often rising above 48°C (118°F) in the shade. Direct sunlight is intense during this period, and at night temperatures remain above 20°C (80°F). In May, the first rains come to the usually parched landscape and with them the planting of millet and sorghum, the major food crops. Niamey gets on average 55.8 centimeters (22 inches) of rainfall between June and September, normally in short torrential downpours preceded by high winds and dust or sand storms. At this time, the surrounding countryside takes on a verdant hue as the crops and the native grasses begin to grow. The rainy season is followed by a short period of hot, humid weather in October during which temperatures range between 15°C (60°F) and 45°C (112°F).

From November to March, the weather is dry and pleasant. During this season, clear days are interspersed with hazy, overcast skies caused by the "harmattan"--a hot, dry wind carrying dust from the Sahara. Normally, the winds stay at high altitudes, creating slightly overcast skies; the harmattan, however, occasionally causes localized dust storms.

Terrain:

predominately desert plains and sand dunes; flat to rolling plains in south; hills in north

Natural Resources:

uranium, coal, iron ore, tin, phosphates, gold, petroleum

Natural Hazards:

recurring droughts

Irrigated Land:

284 Square Miles
737 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

overgrazing; soil erosion; deforestation; desertification; wildlife populations (such as elephant, hippopotamus, giraffe, and lion) threatened because of poaching and habitat destruction

Environment - International Agreements:

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

signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Niger Geography

Geographic Location Africa
Total Area 489,189 Square Miles
1,267,000 Square Kilometers
Land Area 489,073 Square Miles
1,266,700 Square Kilometers
Water Area 116 Square Miles
300 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 3,540 Miles
5,697 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 284 Square Miles
737 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Algeria 956 km, Benin 266 km, Burkina Faso 628 km, Chad 1,175 km, Libya 354 km, Mali 821 km, Nigeria 1,497 km
Geographic Coordinates 16 00 N, 8 00 E
Terrain predominately desert plains and sand dunes; flat to rolling plains in south; hills in north
Highest Point 2,022 Meters
Highest Point Location Mont Bagzane 2,022 m
Lowest Point 200 Meters
Lowest Point Location Niger River 200 m
Natural Resources uranium, coal, iron ore, tin, phosphates, gold, petroleum
Time Zone UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
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