Micronesia, Federated States of
The Federated States of Micronesia comprises all the Caroline Islands except Palau. These islands experience much the same weather as three other groups in the western Pacific north of the equator - the Gilbert, Mariana, and Marshall Islands.
Micronesia has a typical tropical oceanic climate, with moderately high temperatures and humidity which vary little from month to month. The daily range of temperature is quite small - about 4°-5°C/10°F.
All of the country's islands have abundant or moderately heavy rainfall, and most have a wetter season from June to November. Islands near the equator have rainfall more evenly spread throughout the year.
The actual amount of rainfall on each island depends both on the altitude of the land and on exposure to the dominant winds: the northeast trade winds in the low sun period and the southeast monsoon in the high sun period.
Islands more than 5°N of the equator are liable to experience tropic cyclones (the typhoons of the South China Sea) with their heavy rainfall and very strong winds, which can do considerable damage.
The main season for such storms is from July to November. The worst of such storms may only affect one particular island every two or three years, but the much larger area of heavy rain associated with a cyclone contributes to the heavier rainfall of these months.
Micronesia has moderately large amounts of sunshine, averaging between six and eight hours a day in spite of a large number of days on which some rain falls. Much of the rainfall is in the form of short, heavy showers, but days with continuous rain are more frequent in the wetter months.
Although the combination of temperature and humidity is often rather muggy and oppressive, particularly at night, the daytime temperatures are usually moderate and feel more comfortable because of the brisk winds, both daytime sea breezes and the predominant and regular trade winds.
The tables for Saipan in the Marianas and for Ujelang in the Marshalls illustrate conditions that are reflected in most of Micronesia. That for Yaren on Nauru is more typical of Micronesian islands on or near the equator; here rainfall is more evenly distributed throughout the year and tropical cyclones are never experienced.
© Copyright RM, 2007. All rights reserved. Helicon Publishing is a division of RM.