Guinea

GuiNEA IS A republic in west Africa, formerly known as French Guinea, whose capital and largest city is Conakry. Its total land area is 245,857 sq. km (94,926 sq. mi.), slightly smaller than the size of Michigan. It has 200 mi. (320 km.) of coastline. The total land border is 2,112 mi. (3,399 km.). The population of Guinea is 8.8 million (2005 est.). The name Guinea is also used for the region of most of Africa's west coast south of the Sahara desert and north of the Gulf of Guinea. The climate of Guinea is monsoon and subequatorial. Maximum daily temperature (91 degrees F, or 33 degrees C) occurs July-August. Minimum daily temperature (79 degrees F, or 26 degrees C) occurs March-April. The historical maximum/minimum temperatures were 115/ 39 degrees F (46.1/3.9 degrees C). Precipitation is highest (around 157 in., or 4,000 mm., per year) along the coastal line. Precipitation peaks in the wet season (July-August); in the dry season (March-April) it falls to around zero.

Seasonal and interannual-to-multidecadal variability of temperature and precipitation in Guinea is under control of Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) evolution, as is shown by Gennady Dvoryani-nov et al. The linear trend of surface air temperature and precipitation 1920-90 is insignificant for most months because of strong superimposed interan-nual-to-multidecadal variations. For instance, typical magnitude of interannual-to-multidecadal variations of precipitation exceeds 20 in. (500 mm.) per year. Inter-annual variability of climate of Guinea is under the influence of El Niño/La Nina events. They impact Guinea's climate through the atmospheric bridge, resulting in a change of intensity of ITCZ and west African monsoons. Transient and early mature El Niño phases are usually accompanied by more dry conditions there. Multi-decadal variability of climate of Guinea significantly depends on Atlantic multi-decadal oscillation, in which warm phases coincides with warmer conditions in Guinea.

Guinea's territory has a curved shape, with its base at the Atlantic Ocean, inland to the east, and turning south. The base borders Guinea-Bissau and Senegal to the north, and Mali to the north and northeast; the inland part borders Côte d'Ivoire to the southeast, Liberia to the south, and Sierra Leone to the west of the southern tip. A humid and tropical country, Guinea comprises an alluvial coastal plain, the mountainous Fouta Djallon region, a savanna interior, and the forested Guinea Highlands, which rise to 5,800 ft. (1,770 m.) in the Nimba Mts. Fouta Djallon highland region in central Guinea. The Niger, Senegal, and Gambia rivers rise there. The largest rivers of Guinea, with inflows into its coastal zone, are Cogon, Fatala, and Concure. Their discharge is changeable. For example, monthly average discharge of Concure (1957-84) varied from 1770 cu. m. per second (in the wet season) to less than 20 cu. m. per second (in the dry season). There are high-amplitude inter-annual variations of Concure discharge. Its maximum is met in August, when it reaches 2,800 cu. m. per second. Sea surface temperature in the coastal zone of Guinea varies from 25.4 degrees C (in March) to 27.1 degrees C (in August). Upwelling is not typical phenomenon for the Guinean coastal zone, as opposed to that of Senegal.

SEE ALSO: Senegal; Monsoons; Upwelling, Coastal.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. V. Eremeev, ed., Tropical Atlantic: Region of Guinea (Naukova Dumka, 1988).

Alexander Boris Polonsky

Marine Hydrophysical Institute, Sebastopol

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