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Tonga - Climate

The Kingdom of Tonga is located in the tropics (latitude 18-22S) and temperatures range from 20 to 27C. The dominant winds are the southeast trades; those from the south and northeast are less frequent. Rain falls mainly from December to June and is in the order of 1,600-2,000 mm/year, increasing towards the north. Tides are diurnal and their spring range is about 1.2 m.

The temperature ranges from highs of around 26C in February to lows of 21C in July and August, but the southern islands may have cooler weather. Rainfall averages about 2,600 millimeters per year in the north and 1,700 millimeters in the south; more than one-half of the rain falls during the wet season from January to April. Southeast trade winds predominante from May to November and easterlies for the remainder of the year. During February and March, however, moist winds from the north may bring hot weather and violent squalls.

The tides in the Tongan archipelago are very regular, bolh in height and range, the moon's parallax having, however, an unusually large effect on the range. The diurnal inequality amounts to about six inches, both at high and low water. The higher tide following the moon's superior transit when the moon's declination is south, and the inferior transit when the declination is north.

Occasional tropical cyclones occur in summer months and generally travel in a southerly direction. In March 1982 a major hurricane devastated the islands. Cyclone Isaac in 1982 which caused severe damage and was accompanied by a storm surge of several metres in some places.

The indigenous animal life consists chiefly of birds and insects, although there is one native species of bat. Tongan waters are renowned for their abundance of fish. Pigs, fowls, and rats were introduced before the coming of the Europeans. Small pines and low-lying plants make up most of the plant life. The good quality of the soil and the dense population have led to the cultivation of most of the arable land with coconut trees, bananas, and other crops.

Tonga faces inevitable developmental challenges with the presence of climate change and its magnified impacts for island states including Tonga which require adaptation and close management in terms of the persistent risks evident overtime.

With the small states increasingly affected by extreme weather events and rising sea levels, the establishment of the Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) underscored the Banks commitment to provide significant assistance to island states in building resilient through expanding operational climate smart-policies and investing in green infrastructure.

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Page last modified: 12-07-2017 18:57:48 ZULU