Analysis of Extreme Temperature Variability in Rwanda


  • Protais Seshaba

    Department of Science and Humanities, Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences, P O Box 619, Huye, Rwanda

  • Edouard Singirankabo

    Department of Mathematics, Science and Physical Education, University of Rwanda, College of Education, P O Box 55, Rukara, Rwanda

  • Donat Nsabimana

    Department of Forestry, University of Rwanda, College of Science and Technology, P O Box 55, Huye, Rwanda

Received: 27 November 2023 | Revised: 15 January 2024 | Accepted: 22 January 2024 | Published Online: 27 January 2024


The temperature is one of the most important factors in weather and climate forecasting. Studying its behaviour is crucial to understanding climate variability, which could vary spatially and temporally at local, regional, and global scales. Several recent studies on air temperature findings show that the Earth' s near surface air temperature increased between 0.6 °C and 0.8 °C throughout the twentieth century. Using temperature records from ten meteorological stations, this study examined climate variability in Rwanda from the 1930s to 2014. The air temperature data were collected from Meteo Rwanda. Before making the analysis, the authors used software, such as Excel 2007 and INSTAT to control the quality of the raw data. The analysis of maxima and minima indicated that the trends of maximum air temperature were positive and significant at height meteorological stations, whereas the trends for minimum air temperature were found to be at 10 meteorological stations. For all parameters analysed, Kigali Airport meteorological station indicated the higher significance of the trends. The majority of meteorological stations showed an increase in both hot days and nights, confirming Rwanda' s warming over time. The analysis of average seasonal air temperature showed almost similar trends even though not all were significant. This similarity in trends could be attributed to the fact that Rwanda' s short and long dry seasons coincide with rainy seasons.


Climate variability; Air temperature; Solar radiation; Meteorological station


[1] World Meteorological Organization, 1992. Measurement of temperature and humidity (Technical Note No. 194). WMO: Geneva.

[2] Enz, J.W., Hofman, V., Thostenson, A., 2014. Air temperature inversions causes, characteristics and potential effects on pesticide spray drift. NDSU Extension Service.

[3] Lobell, D.B., Schlenker, W., Costa-Roberts, J., 2011. Climate trends and global crop production since 1980. Science. 333(6042), 616–620. DOI:

[4] IPCC, 2007. Climate change 2007: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

[5] GISS surface temperature analysis. NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University Earth Institute: New York.

[6] IPCC, 2007. Climate change 2007: The physical scientific basis. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

[7] Katz, R.W., Brown, B.G., 1992. Extreme events in a changing climate: variability is more important than averages. Climatic Change. 21, 289–302. DOI:

[8] Nicholson, S.E., Kim, J., 1997. The relationship of the El Niño—Southern oscillation to African rainfall. International Journal of Climatology. 17(2), 117–135. DOI:<117::AID-JOC84>3.0.CO;2-O

[9] Hulme, M., Doherty, R., Ngara, T., et al., 2001. African climate change: 1900–2100. Climate Research. 17(2), 145–168. DOI:

[10] IPCC, 2001. Climate change 2001: The scientific basis. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

[11] Niang, I., Ruppel, O.C., Abdrabo, M.A., et al., 2014. Africa. Climate change 2014: Impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. pp. 1199–1265.

[12] DFID, 2009. Economic impacts of climate change: Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi. Oxford Office: Oxford.

[13] Nash, E., Ngabitsinze, J.C., 2013. Low-carbon resilient development in Rwanda. International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED): London.

[14] WWF, 2006. Climate change impacts on East Africa. World Wide Fund: Gland.

[15] Fischlin, A., Midgley, G.F., Price, J.T., et al., 2007. Ecosystems, their properties, goods, and services. Climate change 2007: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. pp. 211–272.

[16] Byamukama, B., Carey, C., Cole, M., et al., 2011. National strategy on climate change and low carbon development for Rwanda. University of Oxford: Oxford.

[17] Safari, B., 2012. Trend analysis of the mean annual temperature in Rwanda during the last 52 years. Journal of Environmental Protection. 3(6), 20077. DOI:

[18] Habiyaremye, G., Jairu, N.D., de la Paix Mupenzi, J., et al., 2012. Statistical analysis of climatic variables and prediction outlook in Rwanda. East African Journal of Science and Technology. 1(1), 27–34.

[19] Singirankabo, E., Iyamuremye, E., Habineza, A., et al., 2023. Statistical modelling of maximum temperature in Rwanda using extreme value analysis. Open Journal of Mathematical Sciences. 7, 180–195. DOI:

[20] Mutabazi, A., 2010. Assessment of operational framework related to climate change in Rwanda. REMA: Kigali.

[21] Downing, T., Watkiss, P., Dyszynski, J., et al., 2009. Economics of Climate change in Rwanda. Stockholm Environment Institute: UK Oxford Office.

[22] Stott, P.A., Gillett, N.P., Hegerl, G.C., et al., 2010. Detection and attribution of climate change: A regional perspective. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change. 1(2), 192–211. DOI:

[23] Collier, C.G., 2006. The impact of urban areas on weather. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 132(614), 1–25. DOI:

[24] Folland, C.K., Vose R.S., Easterling D.R., et al., 2001. Observed climate variability and change. Climate change 2001: The scientific basis. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. pp. 108–109.

[25] Przybylak, R., 2000. Diurnal temperature range in the Arctic and its relation to hemispheric and Arctic circulation patterns. International Journal of Climatology. 20(3), 231–253. DOI:<231::AID-JOC468>3.0.CO;2-U

[26] Braganza, K., Karoly, D.J., Arblaster, J.M., 2004. Diurnal temperature range as an index of global climate change during the twentieth century. Geophysical Research Letters. 31(13). DOI:

[27] Flannigan, M.D., Stocks, B.J., Wotton, B.M., 2000. Climate change and forest fires. Science of the Total Environment. 262(3), 221–229. DOI:

[28] Foden, W., Mace, G., Vié, J.C., et al., 2008. Species susceptibility to climate change impacts. IUCN: Gland, Switzerland.

[29] Balling Jr, R.C., Klopatek, J.M., Hildebrandt, M.L., et al., 1998. Impacts of land degradation on historical temperature records from the Sonoran Desert. Climatic Change. 40, 669–681. DOI:

[30] Bonan, G.B., 2001. Observational evidence for reduction of daily maximum temperature by croplands in the Midwest United States. Journal of Climate. 14(11), 2430–2442. DOI:<2430:OEFROD>2.0.CO;2

[31] Small, E.E., Sloan, L.C., Nychka, D., 2001. Changes in surface air temperature caused by desiccation of the Aral Sea. Journal of Climate. 14(3), 284–299. DOI:<0284:CISATC>2.0.CO;2

[32] Stott, P.A., Jones, G.S., Christidis, N., et al., 2011. Single‐step attribution of increasing frequencies of very warm regional temperatures to human influence. Atmospheric Science Letters. 12(2), 220–227. DOI:

[33] Arnfield, A.J., 2003. Two decades of urban climate research: A review of turbulence, exchanges of energy and water, and the urban heat island. International Journal of Climatology. 23(1), 1–26. DOI:

[34] Parker, D.E., 2010. Urban heat island effects on estimates of observed climate change. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change. 1(1), 123–133. DOI:

[35] Lin, X.C., Yu, S.Q., 2005. Interdecadal changes of temperature in the Beijing region and its heat island effect. Chinese Journal of Geophysics. 48(1), 47–54. DOI:

[36] Yan, Z., Li, Z., Li, Q., et al., 2010. Effects of site change and urbanisation in the Beijing temperature series 1977–2006. International Journal of Climatology. 30(8), 1226–1234. DOI:

[37] Portman, D.A., 1993. Identifying and correcting urban bias in regional time series: Surface temperature in China’s northern plains. Journal of Climate. 6(12), 2298–2308. DOI:<2298:IACUBI>2.0.CO;2

[38] WFP/FEWS-NET, 2003. Rwanda vulnerability baseline report. World Food Programme of the United Nations (WFP)/Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS-NET): Kigali.

[39] World Meteorological Organization, 2013. The global climate 2001–2010: A decade of climate extremes. World Meteorological Organization: Geneva.

[40] Climate Risk Country Profile: Rwanda [Internet]. World Bank Group; 2021.

[41] MINITERE, 2006. National adaptation programmes of action (NAPA) to climate change. Ministry of Lands, Environment, Forestry, Water and Mines (MINITERE): Kigali.

[42] REMA, 2007. Pilot integrated ecosystem assessment of Bugesera. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA): Kigali.


How to Cite

Seshaba, P., Singirankabo, E., & Nsabimana, D. (2024). Analysis of Extreme Temperature Variability in Rwanda: Climate variability, Air temperature, Solar Radiation, Meteorological station. Journal of Atmospheric Science Research, 7(1), 74–89.


Article Type