The climate of Maldives
has a tropical monsoon climate (Köppen climate classification Am), with hot and humid conditions throughout the year. The Maldives is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, approximately 250 miles southwest of India and Sri Lanka. The tropical paradise is typically rainy over the year, with abundant sunlight amid running clouds and turquoise waters. Diurnal temperature differences are minimal irrespective of the season. The southwest monsoon, equatorial location of the islands, proximity to the vast landmass of the Indian subcontinent, and the engulfment by the vast Indian Ocean are the main factors that influence the climate of the country.
The Maldives consists of more than 1192 coral islands in 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean. The archipelago stretches 544 miles in the north-south direction between latitudes 1°N and 8°S and longitudes 72°E and 74°E. The Maldives is the world's most dispersed country and has the lowest elevation among all nations. The total area is over 35,000 square miles, out of which only 115 square miles is dry land. The average elevation is just 1.5 meters above sea level, and the highest natural point lies only 2.4 meters above sea level. The country has a natural composition of live coral reefs and sand bars, which sits on top of a vast underwater 600-mile submarine ridge. The atolls in the archipelago generally consist of a ring-shaped coral reef that engulfs numerous small islands less than 1 square mile in area. There are no hills in the flat landscape, but dunes can reach a height of 2.4 meters. Lakes and marshes exist on the islands, but there are no rivers. Gan is the largest island in the Laamu Atoll, with a length of only 5 miles.
Two distinct seasons dominate the weather of Maldives. The northeast monsoon overlooks the dry season from November
, while the southwest monsoon dictates the wet season from May
. Temperatures are usually in the range of 24°C (75.2°F) to 33°C (91.4°F) over the year, with average high temperature at 31.5°C (88.7°F) and the average low temperature at 26.4°C (79.5°F). Summers are hot and humid under the sway of the tropical weather. Equatorial currents influence the weather, and the monsoon is prominent in the north than the south. The northern portion of the country has a more pronounced dry period from January
to April than the southern part. Few days register below 25°C (77°F) in the winter, and even nights are warm. Days and nights are of equal duration during the year due to location near the equator. Trade winds provide pleasant breezes during the winter. The average daily wind speeds remain in the 8km/h (5mph) to 24.1km/h (15mph) range throughout the year. The tropical cyclone season runs from June
to November, and the highest frequency of storms is in August
The Maldives receives abundant annual rainfall that ranges from 2540mm (100") in the north to over 3810mm (150") in the south. The precipitation is throughout the year, but relatively less in the dry season, which contributes up to 20% of the annual amount. The southwest monsoon dominates the wet season, while the northeast monsoon brings rainfall in the dry season. Afternoon thunderstorms with rain for short periods are a standard feature of the climate.
The abundant sunshine ranges from 2600 hours to 3000 hours annually, with an average of 7 hours to 9 hours of daily sunshine. The sunlight is intense in the country except for the winter. The average seawater temperatures at 27.8°C (82°F) are favorable for swimming throughout the year. The annual average relative humidity is 80%, with a monthly peak of 82% during the rainy season.
The highest temperature on record for the Maldives is 34.9°C (94.8°F), set on May 19, 1991, in Hanimaadhoo. The lowest recorded temperature is 17.2°C (63°F), set on April 11, 1978, in Hulhule Island.
The best time to visit Maldives
The best time to visit the Maldives
is from December
, with comfortable temperatures and relatively fewer rainy days. Torrential rainfall is unheard, and 24-hour precipitation is short of 25.4mm (1"), even on the wettest day. The winter is usually warm and sunny in the northern half, with at least 8 hours of daily sunshine. Humidity levels are tolerable, the skies are blue, and the waters are calm. Nights are cozy, with temperatures above 25°C (77°F). The end of the cyclone season instills calmness in the atmosphere, and the conditions are pleasant. The southern half receives more rain and afternoon thunderstorms than the northern one.
The worst time to visit Maldives
The worst time to visit the Maldives
is from May
in the wet season. May and October comprise the two maxima of the rainy season and are particularly humid, cloudy, and wet. Temperatures rarely rise above 32.2°C (90°F) but seldom drop below 25°C (77°F). Torrential rainfall and a high heat index keep the days stifling hot, and the period is uncomfortable for people foreign to tropical weather patterns. Additionally, the cyclone season falls in the wet season and brings stormy weather to the islands. The southern half is suitable for a vacation in the summer as the influence of the southwest monsoon is marginal.
is susceptible to tropical cyclones, tsunamis, floods, and rainstorms. Tropical cyclones are active between May
, with the highest frequency in those two months. Floods are a concern after heavy rain in the wet season due to the flat topography. Cyclones cause damage due to torrential rain, high wind speeds, and create giant waves in the usually calm waters. Fuvahmulah and the southern atolls are more prone to storms due to their proximity to the equator. Even a slight sea-level increase due to global warming poses an existential threat, as the country lies nearly at sea level. Rise in seawater temperatures by -12.8°C (9°F) killed 65% of the country's coral reefs in 1998.
Weather in January
has pleasant weather in the Maldives
, with warm and sunny days. The prevalent northeast monsoon brings moderate precipitation. Running clouds are a standard feature rather than spotless skies. The average temperatures are in the warm range of 25°C (77°F) to 30°C (86°F), with humidity levels between 65% and 75%. Male, the capital in the central atoll, registers a moderate 88.9mm (3.5") of rainfall. Weather in January »
Weather in February
is the driest month of the year, with bright and sunny conditions in the Maldives
. The average temperatures are between 25.6°C (78.1°F) to 30.6°C (87.1°F) and gradually rise in the second half of the month. Male registers warm temperatures in the 25°C (77°F) to 31.1°C (88°F) range. The cloud cover remains constant above 58%, while February 19 is the clearest day of the year. Weather in February »
Weather in March
is sunny in the Maldives
, with light spells of rain. The average temperatures in Male are in the hot range of 26.1°C (79°F) to 31.1°C (88°F). It is prudent to relax indoors between 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. when the ultraviolet index of the sun is at the peak of 12. Ungoofaaru, in the Raa Atoll, in the north is relatively dry, with 76.2mm (3") of average precipitation in the month. Weather in March »
Weather in April
is hot in the Maldives
, with mostly clear skies amid plenty of sunshine. The average temperatures are in the hot zone of 26.1°C (79°F) to 32.2°C (90°F) range. Nights remain warm, with a slight decrease in the temperatures. Gan Island in the south receives 170.2mm (6.7") of precipitation, while the northern islands record between 101.6mm (4") to 152.4mm (6") of rainfall. Weather in April »
Weather in May
is hot and humid at the beginning of the wet season in the Maldives
. The first maximum of the wet season brings more than 203.2mm (8") of precipitation in the country. The average temperatures remain in the 26.1°C (79°F) to 31.1°C (88°F), but the humidity makes the heat oppressive at times. The Addu Atoll in the south receives an average of 226.1mm (8.9") of rainfall in 16 wet days. Weather in May »
Weather in June
is humid and wet in the Maldives
, as the southwest monsoon is prevalent everywhere. The average temperatures register in Male are in the range of 26.1°C (79°F) to 30°C (86°F), with relative humidity levels between 75% to 90%. Weather in June »
Weather in July
is humid and wet in the Maldives
, with plenty of rain. Temperatures are in the sticky range of 25.6°C (78.1°F) to 30°C (86°F) everywhere, with a slight drop in precipitation. The trough of the wet season still registers at least 127mm (5") of rainfall in the north and 152.4mm (6") in the south. Weather in July »
Weather in August
is a wet month in the rainy season of Maldives
, with stifling heat and generally humid conditions. The precipitation is on the rise, with an average of 152.4mm (6") in the month amid 15 wet days. The average temperatures in Funadhoo and Ugoofaaru in the north are in the range of 25°C (77°F) to 30°C (86°F), while Viligili and Thinadhoo near the equator are slightly high. The weather is unpredictable, with torrential downpour amid rainstorms on the one hand and 7 hours of daily sunshine on the other. Weather in August »
Weather in September
is wet and humid in the Maldives
, as the monsoon is relentless. The average temperatures in Male remain in the 25°C (77°F) to 30°C (86°F) range, with relative humidity between 75% and 95%. Precipitation is usually above 215.9mm (8.5"), with at least 15 wet days in the month. Weather in September »
Weather in October
brings the second maximum of the wet season to the Maldives
. The wettest month of the year brings 228.6mm (9") to 304.8mm (12") of rainfall in most parts of the country. Male registers 231.1mm (9.1") of rainfall in 16 wet days. Weather in October »
Weather in November
begins the dry season in the Maldives
, with a slight drop in temperatures. The northeast monsoon is relatively quiet and dry and devoid of stormy weather. The southern atolls receive heavy rainfall in the form of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoons and evenings. Weather in November »
Weather in December
has mild weather in the Maldives
, at the beginning of the winter season. The average temperatures in Male remain in the range of 25°C (77°F) to 30°C (86°F), with a gradual decrease in cloud cover. Isolated thunderstorms occur in the afternoons, even though the tropical cyclone season is over. Weather in December »