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Climate - Micronesia

Temperature, rainfall, prevailing weather conditions, when to go, what to pack

See also the US version (°F - inches - feet)

Flag - Micronesia

Map - Micronesia

In the Federated States of Micronesia, the climate is equatorial, ie hot, humid and rainy throughout the year.
The temperature is definitely stable throughout the year, around 22/25 °C at night and 30/32 °C during the day; it rarely drops below 20 °C, while sometimes it can reach 34/35 °C.
Here are the average temperatures of Palikir.
Palikir average temperatures
Palikir J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°C) 23 24 23 23 23 22 22 22 22 22 22 23
Max (°C) 30 30 30 30 30 30 31 31 31 31 31 30

The islands are located just north of the Equator, and are affected by the northeast trade winds, at least in the cooler "winter" months.
The amount of sunshine, given the frequent rains, is never excellent but neither too low, as the rains occur in the form of short and intense showers.
The annual precipitation is abundant, and ranges from 2,500 to 5,000 millimetres, but in the windward slopes of the larger islands (such as Pohnpei and Kosrae), in which there are some hills, it can exceed 6,000 mm per year, that is, six metres! Mount Nahnalaud, 750 metres high, on the island of Pohnpei, is one of the wettest places on Earth, with 10,160 mm of rain per year, and is often covered by clouds.
The capital Palikir, in the island of Pohnpei (ex Ponape), receives almost 4,800 mm of rain per year, with a minimum of 260 mm in February and a maximum of 490 mm in May. Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation Palikir
Palikir J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (mm) 300 260 360 440 490 430 440 420 400 410 400 400 4750
Days 21 19 20 20 20 19 22 22 20 21 20 21 245

The driest islands are the flat atolls, where there are no hills and mountains which could enhance the formation of thunderclouds: in these cases, precipitation can drop below 4,000 mm per year, and in some cases even below 3,000 mm.
However, the rainfall pattern is quite irregular from year to year, because the country is affected by the so called ENSO cycle: in particular, the phenomenon known as El Niño can cause drought in this area of the Pacific.

In the westernmost island, Yap, 3,000 mm of rain per year fall; the period from February to April is (relatively) drier, not exceeding 160 mm per month.
In Chuuk the total rainfall is 3,500 mm per year, from 170 mm in February to 360 mm in May. From January to March, precipitation drops below 250 mm per month.
In the southern island of Nukuoro, the annual rainfall amounts to 4,000 mm, and the trend is different, because it drops below 300 mm per month from September to December; in the even more southerly Kapingamarangi the total amounts to 3,000 mm, and it drops below 250 mm from August to December, and below 200 mm in September and October.

Micronesia may be affected by the tropical cyclones of the North Pacific Ocean, known in this area as typhoons, which occur in the period from June to November. Sometimes typhoons have developed outside of this period, as has been the case with Pamela (May 1976), Isa (April 1997), Mitag (February-March 2002) and Sudal (April 2004). An exception is the southern atoll of Kapingamarangi, which is sheltered from typhoons, because it's located near the Equator.


The sea in Micronesia is pleasantly warm all year round, and has a very stable temperature, as we can see in the following table.
Sea temperature Palikir
Palikir J F M A M J J A S O N D
Sea (°C) 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29

When to go

The best time to visit Micronesia is from February to April in the westernmost islands (Yap Islands), and from January to March in the central-eastern islands (Caroline), being the driest (or rather the least rainy). Typically February is the driest month of all. However, considering the risk of typhoons, which as mentioned have occurred, though rarely, from late February, to be sure, you can choose the period mid-December to mid-February.

What to pack

All year round, tropics-friendly, loose fitting clothing, sun hat, a scarf for the breeze, a light sweatshirt for the evening, light raincoat or umbrella.

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