South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands: Seasons and Climate

(HMS Protector)

Due to cold ocean waters the islands has maritime climate and harsh unpredictable weather. Annual range of temperatures is between 0 and 7 °C (32-45 °F). Annual amount of precipitation is 1500 mm (59”). The islands are located in so called furious 50s where constant western winds are blowing the life out of every visitor.

(A panoramic view of South Georgia taken by Frank Hurley)

Due to prevailing western winds eastern sides of the islands are having more comfortable weather. Warm winds are drying slopes of local mountains. Ay summer temperature here may rise to even 20 °C (68 °F). However waters are always cold due to Antarctic Circumpolar Current. South Sandwich Islands are colder for they are located south of South Georgia.

Such conditions aren’t quite promoting for tourism thus there are no hotels or resorts. The islands are habituated only by several science expeditions. However they are worth visiting at least to spectate wonders of severe southern nature.


Weather and Climate

Summer in Bird Island, South Georgia

(View of Grytviken)

In general weather on the islands is rather stable. Meaning it is cold, windy and rainy through whole year. However there is time of relative warmth between November and March. Warm season differs by rains prevailing over snow and slightly higher temperatures between 6 °C and 8 °C (43-46 °F).

The climate of the summer months

November
Max average t°: 3.4 °C (38 °F)
Min average t°: -1.5 °C (29 °F)
Precipitation: 88 mm (3.5")
December
Max average t°: 4.5 °C (40 °F)
Min average t°: -0.6 °C (31 °F)
Precipitation: 77 mm (3.0")
January
Max average t°: 5.5 °C (42 °F)
Min average t°: 0.7 °C (33 °F)
Precipitation: 84 mm (3.3")

Humidity and winds are still here however at summer they are at least bit calmer. Regarding overall harshness of climate of the islands travelers that ought to visit them should pick certain time between December and January for this is the warmest and sunniest time.

February
Max average t°: 5.6 °C (42 °F)
Min average t°: 1.4 °C (34.5 °F)
Precipitation: 80 mm (3.1")
March
Max average t°: 4.4 °C (40 °F)
Min average t°: 0.6 °C (33 °F)
Precipitation: 95 mm (3.7")
April
Max average t°: 1.9 °C (35 °F)
Min average t°: -1 °C (30 °F)
Precipitation: 123 mm (4.8")


Winter in Bird Island, South Georgia

(King penguins at St Andrews Bay, South Georgia Island, 1996)

First half of the season differs by drop of average to about 2 °C (36 °F). At May rain is shifting into snow and weather becomes hardly tolerable. Furthermore averages are dropping to about 0 °C (32 °F) with occasional drops to about -5 °C (23 °F). Drops to -10 °C (14 °F) may occur to yet temperatures below are rather unusual.

The climate of the winter months

May
Max average t°: -0.5 °C (31 °F)
Min average t°: -3.8 °C (25 °F)
Precipitation: 108 mm (4.2")
June
Max average t°: -1.8 °C (29 °F)
Min average t°: -4.6 °C (24 °F)
Precipitation: 108 mm (4.2")
July
Max average t°: -2.4 °C (28 °F)
Min average t°: -5.4 °C (22 °F)
Precipitation: 120 mm (4.7")

All in all winter in South Georgia Island is dark (only 12 hours of sunlight in June), windy and snowy. Temperatures given above may be delusive for combination of high humidity (80%) and piercing winds makes it feel way colder. However time between June and August is second busiest tourist season.

August
Max average t°: -1.9 °C (29 °F)
Min average t°: -4.8 °C (23 °F)
Precipitation: 114 mm (4.5")
September
Max average t°: -0.2 °C (32 °F)
Min average t°: -3.4 °C (26 °F)
Precipitation: 107 mm (4.2")
October
Max average t°: 1.6 °C (35 °F)
Min average t°: -1.9 (29 °F)
Precipitation: 98 mm 3.9")