The climate in the Caribbean is tropical and therefore year-round warm to hot, with one or two distinct wet seasons per year. Note that, in the islands and in Belize, the wet season generally coincides with the Atlantic hurricane season, officially running from June 1st till November 30th of each year.
Below is a technical description of the climate in the Caribbean, followed by maps of average monthly rainfall sums and average monthly temperatures at eye height, as registered by land-based weather stations across the region.
Also, you will find more detailed rainfall and temperature statistics per territory and per station.
Main Characteristics of Caribbean Climate
- temperatures fairly constant throughout the year; annual temperature range of less than 2oC (extreme south) to about 5 oC (high elevations in far north).
- one dry and one wet season each year (except in the Guianas); wet season runs from May/June to November/December, dry season during the other half year; wet season coincides with the hurricane season, due to similar drivers.
- heat stress much higher during wet season, especially during dry spells (no relief from intensely humid heat by rain and cloudiness); lower during breezy, cooler dry season.
Physical and Dynamic Drivers of Seasonality of Caribbean Climate
for weather and climate professionals and amateurs
- wet/hurricane season drivers include (i) migration of the Hadley Cell and the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) from 2-5°N in March to 12-15°N in September; (ii) resulting change in strength and northward migration of the sub-tropical (Bermuda-Azores) High Pressure; (iii) sea surface temperature (SST) generally 27-30°C; (iv) migrating tropical waves and other disturbances, which can strengthen and develop to form tropical cyclones, including hurricanes.
- peak of wet and hurricane seasons around September/October when SSTs are highest in ITCZ at its most notherly position.
- migrating ITCZ main reason for double rainfall peaks in the Guianas (May-July & November-January).
- dry season triggered by southward migration of the Hadley cell, the subtropical high and the ITCZ, as a more stable atmosphere develops; February-April heart of the season. Most of dry season rainfall is the north associated with passage or stalling of cold fronts, with remnants of the fronts providing rainfall to the eastern Caribbean.
The climate data from the land-based weather stations were kindly made available by the participating member states to the Caribbean Outlook Forum (CariCOF) as of October 2014. Please contact us for questions pertaining to access to these data, if your country/territory and/or organisation is not currently a participant to CariCOF.
The graphical and textual information provided on this web page may be shared on the condition that the source is clearly cited as “information provided by the WMO designated Caribbean Regional Climate Centre (RCC) in demonstration phase at the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH))”.