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New Caledonia - Climate

Six of the ten countries with the greatest proportion of their assets at risk to cyclone wind damage are small island states. The 2015 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction has reported that future disaster losses represent an existential threat to Pacific island nations, undermining efforts to eradicate poverty and build resilient cities and communities. The expected annual disaster losses are equivalent to almost 20 percent of their total social expenditure on areas like health and education.

Like other island states, New Caledonia faces the formidable challenge of building both resistance and resilience to violent storms. In May 2017, Vanuatu and New Caledonia were both hit by Cyclone Donna, which struck outside the so-called normal Pacific Cyclone season. There was also the unusual phenomenon of Cyclone Ella forming at the same time. The archipelago has long been affected by these kinds of storms, which have the potential to cause irreversible damage, but they now are generally stronger and occur outside the normal cyclone season. Increasing vulnerabilities in these areas can have long-lasting consequences for recovery and overall development.

Thanks to New Caledonias geographical location in the southern hemisphere, the country enjoys constant cooling south-easterly and easterly breezes. These trade winds not only keep the climate pleasantly balmy but also make New Caledonia a paradise for a host of sports. Average rainfall for the whole of the Main Island is 1,700 mm/year, but the East Coast gets twice as much rain as the West Coast. Statistically speaking, the dry seasons are April to May and September to November.

Average monthly temperature throughout the year is around 24C in the shade. It hovers between 20-22C during the cooler months (July/August) and 27-28C during the hotter months (December/January/February). Visitors are very unlikely to need cosy fleeces to warm you up during your time in New Caledonia, unless staying up in the mountains.

Although New Caledonia enjoys a delightfully balmy semi-tropical climate, experienced hikers know that between June and September, the perfect seasonal conditions for trail walking, temperatures in the central mountain range can drop as low as zero at night. So warm clothes are a must! Chilly nights apart, the cool season is the ideal period for setting off to hike along the many signposted trails crisscrossing the vast nature reserves in both the North and South Provinces of the Main Island.

The water is always delightfully pleasant. Even in the middle of the cool season (July-September), seawater temperatures are steady at 21-22C (compared to 26-28C from January to March).

New Caledonia can be hit by active tropical cyclones or storms but such severe weather events remain unpredictable and relatively rare and mostly occur between February and April. During weather events of this kind, sports activities are obviously strongly discouraged or prohibited depending on the official warning level.





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Page last modified: 16-11-2017 18:42:31 ZULU