WEATHER & CLIMATE
WHAT IS CLIMATE?
Climate is the behaviour of the weather over a long period of time. If you were going to describe the 'climate' of a place, the easiest way is to see what the weather patterns or seasons are over a longer period of time.
WHAT IS WEATHER?
Some days when we look out it is rainy, dark and gloomy. Other days it looks sunny and bright and we are excited to go outside.
What we see when we look out the window at any given time is the weather. The weather is what we see happening in the atmosphere outside at a point in time.
HOW ABOUT SEASONS?
So we've learnt that what we see when we look at the atmosphere outside is the weather.
The word seasons describes the weather over a period of time. When the weather has the same pattern happening again and again, year after year, after year, then we call that period a season.
In some countries you learn about Spring, Summer, Fall/Autumn and Winter, each of these is a season, made up of very different types of periods of weather.
In Nigeria there are two types of weather pattern, two seasons called the dry season and the wet season and now we are going to look at what happens each time we have a season.
A big part of the reason we have these seasons in Nigeria is the winds. The winds that criss-cross Nigeria are known as the Trade Winds and there are two sets of them:
1 - the North East Trade Winds also known as the Tropical Continental Air Mass or Harmattan, that blow down from the dry and hot Sahara desert and through Niger Republic across Nigeria from the North; and
2 - the South West Trade Winds also known as the Tropical Maritime Air Mass, that blow across Nigeria and bring humid air and a lot of rain from the Atlantic Ocean to the south of Nigeria.
This is the coldest time of the year in Nigeria. It is also the dustiest because the north east trade winds from the Sahara carry sands which travel through the country. This time of year the pattern of the weather changes, it is usually hazy and cooler than normal.
The dry season can start in October and end in April, depending on where you live in Nigeria.
This is the rainiest time of the year with heavy storms coming down from the moist air that has been pulled over Nigeria from the Atlantic. It is most commonly known as "rainy season"
The wet season can start in May and end in September, depending on where you live in Nigeria.
WHAT DO THE SEASONS FEEL LIKE?
While the seasons vary in much the same way across Nigeria, the extent to which you feel them may depend on where you live.
For example for kids living in the North, when it is hot and hazy during the dry season, it would be even hotter and hazier for them because they are closer to the desert and so feel the North East Trade Winds blowing across more than kids in the south of Nigeria.
Meanwhile for kids living by the ocean's coast in the south when it is rainy season the rain may be much heavier for them than it is in the north because they are closer to the Atlantic Ocean where the moisture is coming from.
So even though the dry season and wet season take place across Nigeria, they take place slightly differently.
In Northern Nigeria you have a very cool/very hazy/very dusty dry season and an extremely hot, moderately rainy wet season
In southern Nigeria you have a slightly cooler/moderately hazy/moderately dusty dry season and an extremely rainy wet season