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Climate - South Georgia

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

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

Flag - South Georgia

Map - South Georgia

In South Georgia, an island of the southern Atlantic Ocean administered by the United Kingdom, the climate is maritime subpolar, so that the average temperature of the warmest month, February, is just 6 °C in the main city, Grytviken.
Winter is cold, and the daily average of the coldest months is around freezing.
Here are the average temperatures of Grytviken.
Grytviken average temperatures
Grytviken J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°C) 3 4 3 1 -1 -2 -2 -2 -1 0 1 2
Max (°C) 8 9 8 6 4 2 2 3 4 5 6 7

The island is exposed to the intense and incessant flow of the westerly winds, related to disturbances, which bring rain or snow throughout the year. The annual precipitation amounts to 1,400 millimetres per year in Grytviken, and is well distributed throughout the year, although it drops slightly below 100 mm per month from September to January, that is, between spring and early summer, while it hovers between 115 and 145 mm per month between February and August, that is, from late summer to late winter.
Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation Grytviken
Grytviken J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (mm) 95 115 135 135 145 135 140 135 95 80 95 85 1395
Days 12 13 14 14 12 15 15 14 11 12 11 11 154

Given the temperatures, snowfall is more likely from mid-April to October, but sometimes it can occur even in summer, even at sea level. Gale force winds may blow throughout the year, the humidity is consistently high, and the amount of sunshine scarce.
At sea level, the temperature can drop a few degrees below freezing even in summer, while in winter it can drop to -10/-12 °C after the outbreaks of Antarctic air masses, although the severe frost doesn't last long, because soon the westerlies start to blow again. On the other hand, practically in South Georgia it never gets hot: the temperature can reach at most 20/22 °C, from November to March.
In inland areas, where there are hills and mountains, the temperature decreases, and given the low summer temperatures, glaciers cover most of the island already at 300 metres above sea level, and some glacier tongues descend by gravity to the sea. The more you go up in altitude, the easier it is to see the snow fall even in summer. The highest peak is Mount Paget, 2,935 metres high.

South Georgia

The sea is very cold throughout the year, and in winter approaches freezing, although the sea, being salty, freezes at about -2 °C.
Sea temperature Grytviken
Grytviken J F M A M J J A S O N D
Sea (°C) 3 3 3 3 2 1 1 0 0 0 1 2

When to go

The best time to visit South Georgia is the austral summer, from December to March, and especially from January to March, when the temperatures are higher. It must be said that in this period the weather is not always clement: the temperature is low, it can rain, the wind often blows, and in inland hills and mountains (but sometimes even on the coast), it can snow. It will therefore be useful to bring warm clothes, hoping to have the chance to remove some of them in warmer days, when the temperature can approach 20 °C.

What to pack

In winter (June to August): warm clothes, fleece, down jacket, wind jacket, warm hat, gloves, scarf, raincoat, hiking boots.
In summer (December to March): warm clothes, sweater, raincoat, down jacket, hat, hiking boots; the outwer layer can be removed in the warmer days. For the inland hills and Mount Paget, warm clothes like in winter.

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Falkland Islands

US version (°F)
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