Geographical Location and Boundary
Ethiopia is strategically located in the northeastern part of Africa popularly known as "the Horn of Africa". It shares boundary with the North and South Sudan on the west, Somalia and Djibouti on the East, Eritrea on the North and northwest and Kenya on the South. Its proximity to the Middle East and Europe puts the country on a strategic position to enhance international trade. It is a country of great geographical diversity. It has high and rugged mountains, flat-topped plateaus, deep gorges, valleys and vast rolling plains. Its altitude ranges from the highest peak at Ras Dashen (4620 meters above sea level) down to the Dallol Depression, about 148 meters below sea level. A large part of the country comprises of high plateaus and mountain ranges with precipitous edges dissected by rushing streams that are tributaries of famous rivers like the Abay (the Blue Nile). As the country is located within the tropics, its physical conditions and variations in altitude have resulted in great diversity of terrain, climate, soil, flora and fauna.
There are three principal climate groups in Ethiopia: tropical rainy climate, dry climate and warm temperate rainy climate. Mean maximum and mean minimum temperatures vary spatially and temporally. Generally, mean maximum temperature is higher from March to May and mean minimum temperature is lower from November to December as compared to other months. The lowest mean minimum temperature mostly occurs over the highlands of the country. Most of the highlands experience mean minimum temperature as low as 0oc from November to January while the higher mean minimum temperature (20o-30oc) is observed over the Danakil depression, the southeastern and the western lowlands of the country and the highest mean maximum temperature (45oc) is found over the Danakil depression.
The mean annual rainfall ranges from less than about 100mm over the northern parts to an excess of 2800mm over the southwestern parts of the country. As a whole, for most of the year, different parts of the country experience wet rainy season or dry season at a given moment. The climatic spectrum of the country ranges from hot arid to hot and cool steppes; from tropical Savannah to rain forest; and from temperate to cool highlands. In most of the high lands, rainfall occurs in two distinct seasons: the "small rains" during February and March and the "big rains" from June to September.
Dega (cool to cold temperature)
This is typical of the cool highlands where average temperature falls between 10°C and 16°C. The altitude is above 2500 meters above sea level.
Weina Dega (warm to cool climate)
Average annual temperature ranges between 16°C and 20°C and comprises much of the highlands between 1,500 to 2,500 meters above sea level.
Kolla (warm to hot climate)
This is the climate of the hot lowlands, and the average temperature is between 20°C to 30°C. The altitude ranges from 500 to 1,500 meters above sea level.
There are two distinct seasons in Ethiopia, the dry season which is for the most part from October to May (mostly winter season in Europe) and rainy season from June to September (summer season in Europe.)