Sierra Leone Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Sierra Leone?

Overview:

Roughly circular in shape, Sierra Leone has an area of 29,925 square miles; It is located on the West African coast between 7 and 10 degrees north of the Equator. Three main topographical regions run northwest to southwest, roughly parallel to the coast: a belt of mangrove swamps and white sand beaches, an area of low plains covered with secondary forest and cultivated land, and an easternmost region of high plateaus and mountains, some rising as high as 6,000 feet. The mountainous peninsula on which Freetown is located comprises a fourth distinct geographical region.

Geography - note:

rainfall along the coast can reach 495 cm (195 inches) a year, making it one of the wettest places along coastal, western Africa

Climate:

The tropical climate has rainy and dry seasons, high temperatures, and almost constant humidity. The rainy season extends from May to November but is heaviest between July and September, when over half of the annual rainfall occurs. In Freetown, annual rainfall is 150 inches or more; inland areas receive less. The beginning and end of the rainy season are marked by frequent strong electrical storms, similar to those occurring during the hot summer months in the eastern U.S. Coastal temperatures during the rainy season range from a daily high of about 80°F. to a nightly low of about 76°F.

Relative humidity in Freetown rarely falls below 80%, except when the harmattan reaches the coast. This current of dry, dusty air flows from the Sahara Desert toward the south and west, usually reaching Sierra Leone in December. During this season, which lasts through February, Freetown experiences its coolest weather.

Sierra Leone Use of Natural Resources

Sierra Leone Environment

Climate:

The tropical climate has rainy and dry seasons, high temperatures, and almost constant humidity. The rainy season extends from May to November but is heaviest between July and September, when over half of the annual rainfall occurs. In Freetown, annual rainfall is 150 inches or more; inland areas receive less. The beginning and end of the rainy season are marked by frequent strong electrical storms, similar to those occurring during the hot summer months in the eastern U.S. Coastal temperatures during the rainy season range from a daily high of about 80°F. to a nightly low of about 76°F.

Relative humidity in Freetown rarely falls below 80%, except when the harmattan reaches the coast. This current of dry, dusty air flows from the Sahara Desert toward the south and west, usually reaching Sierra Leone in December. During this season, which lasts through February, Freetown experiences its coolest weather.

Terrain:

coastal belt of mangrove swamps, wooded hill country, upland plateau, mountains in east

Natural Resources:

diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite

Natural Hazards:

dry, sand-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to February); sandstorms, dust storms

Irrigated Land:

113 Square Miles
294 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

rapid population growth pressuring the environment; overharvesting of timber, expansion of cattle grazing, and slash-and-burn agriculture have resulted in deforestation and soil exhaustion; civil war depleting natural resources; overfishing

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification

Sierra Leone Geography

Geographic Location Africa
Total Area 27,699 Square Miles
71,740 Square Kilometers
Land Area 27,652 Square Miles
71,620 Square Kilometers
Water Area 46 Square Miles
120 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 595 Miles
958 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 113 Square Miles
294 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Guinea 652 km, Liberia 306 km
Coastline 250 Miles
402 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 8 30 N, 11 30 W
Terrain coastal belt of mangrove swamps, wooded hill country, upland plateau, mountains in east
Highest Point 1,948 Meters
Highest Point Location Loma Mansa (Bintimani) 1,948 m
Lowest Point Location Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Natural Resources diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite
Time Zone UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
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