Geography & Climate

Libya is situated at the center of the northern border of Africa facing the Mediterranean lying between latitudes 33°N and approximately 18°N and longitudes 8°E and 25°E, with a coastline spanning 1,900 kilometers from Tunisia in the West to Egypt in the East. The country has an area of 1.77 million square kilometers. Other bordering countries include Sudan in the East, Algeria in the West and Chad and Niger to the South and South West.

The vast majority of the population resides in the regions known as the Jefara and Jebal. Jefara is the coastal plain and Jebal is a mountainous range where there is evidence of past volcanic activity, old craters and sheets of lava. The Jefara plain and Jebal mountain range are adjacent and have access to relatively more water sources which is why most of the population dwells in these areas.

Further south lie the mountains of central Sahara. In the eastern section of the country along the Mediterranean coast the land rises to nearly 4,000 metres above sea level giving most of the eastern section a distinct coastline as opposed to the western section which has a low line. This eastern area is called the Jabel Akhtar.

The Libyan coastline stretching from Tunisia to Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea and the north/south boundaries stretching to the Sahara desert in the south gives Libya an extremely varied climate. The north coast enjoys a Mediterranean climate. The summer starts from May and lasts through to the end of September with temperatures exceeding 35؛C. During periods of high levels of humidity it can become uncomfortable although, even then, the temperature usually drops significantly after sunset. The winter months from December to February are damp and windy. The temperatures in the low-lying areas drop significantly but do not reach the near freezing points as they do in the highlands. The rainy season generally starts in October and may last until March. The rain is fairly substantial and reaches a maximum of 365 mm in Tripoli area, which is the highest in this zone. The lowest is in the region of 150mm in other areas. Further south of the first zone the influence of the sea is considerably reduced, consequently the range of temperature in this second zone is higher whilst the humidity tends to be lower. The rainfall also diminishes rapidly as the distance from the coast towards south increases.