This Melanesian overseas territory of France centres on the large and mountainous island which gives its name to the whole, but also includes several smaller islands in the Chesterfield and Loyalty groups.
The territory shares with others in the southwestern Pacific near the equator the features of a tropical oceanic climate. Very similar conditions prevail throughout the year, with high temperatures and humidity.
The daily range of temperature is quite small - about 4°-5° C/10°F. There is abundant rainfall. Being south of the equator, New Caledonia has its season of maximum rainfall between November and April. On some islands there is no great difference between the amount of rain from month to month. Tropical cyclones are less frequent than in the Pacific north of the equator.
Except in the wettest places, where cloud is more frequent, the country has moderately large amounts of sunshine, averaging from six to eight hours a day. Much of the rainfall comes in short, heavy showers, often after a sunny morning, but longer periods of heavy rain lasting a day or so occur in the wetter months.
In this area of the Pacific the principal difference in the weather and climate is the amount of rainfall per month. Temperature and humidity are very similar from one island to another, but the amount of rainfall varies with altitude and with exposure of the coast to the dominant southeast trade winds.
The number of wet days varies from island to island much less than the amount of rain. The climate may generally be described as pleasant and healthy, although the combination of high temperature and humidity can be a little oppressive when not tempered by sea breezes or a brisk wind.
The table for Nouméa on the western coast of New Caledonia shows the rather less wet weather that is typical of places in the southwest Pacific that are protected from the prevailing southeast trade winds.
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