The Sahel (from Arabic ساحل sahil for shore or border) is the boundary zone in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the more fertile region to the south, known as the Sudan (not to be confused with the country of the same name).
The Sahel is primarily savanna and runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Horn of Africa. Over the history of Africa the region has been home to some of the most advanced kingdoms benefiting from trade across the desert. Collectively these states are known as the Sahelian kingdoms.
The countries of the Sahel today include Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia. Sahel is also used to refer to the countries of West-Africa.
The Sahel receives 150-500 mm (6-20 in) of rainfall a year, primarily in the monsoon season. The rainfall is characterized by year to year and decadal variability.
There is a strong correlation between rainfall in the Sahel and intense hurricane activity in the Atlantic.
External links and references
- Notes on Sahel Africa
- Landsea, C., and Gray, W. The Strong Association between Western Sahel Monsoon Rainfall and Intense Atlantic Hurricanes. Journal Of Climate, Vol. 5, No. 5, May 1992
- Sahel rainfall index, 1898 - 2002
- Desertification - a threat to the Sahel