The Bahamas is located on the boundary of the tropical and subtropical zones and, as such, has a semi-tropical or subtropical marine climate, which is moderated by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. The islands experience warm, humid conditions year-round, though with more seasonal variations than the Southern Caribbean islands. There are also variations between the islands of the Bahamas, with rainfall falling twice as much in the northwestern islands than in the southeastern islands, and the more northerly islands experiencing temperatures up to 5° cooler than the southern islands. Average temperatures are fairly high, with the mean daily temperatures fluctuating between 17°C and 32°C. Mean annual rainfall for the Bahamas varies from about 865 mm to about 1470 mm. Inter-annual variability in climate is strongly influenced by the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). El Niño episodes bring warmer and drier conditions between June and August. Located in the heart of the Atlantic hurricane belt, the Bahamas is also subject to hurricanes and tropical cyclones especially during the August – November period.
- Mean temperatures have increased by around 0.5°C since 1960, at an average rate of 0.11°C per decade. Bahamian data show that the mean daily maximum temperature for July has increased at a rate of 2°C per 100 years, and more recently at a rate of 2.6°C per 100 years.
- There is seasonal variation in the rate of temperature increase, with the rate being most rapid in the warmest seasons, June-August and September-November, having rates of 0.13 and 0.15°C per decade respectively. There is also variation between islands, where the rate of warming is more rapid in the northeastern islands compared to the southwestern islands.
- There have been statistically significant increases in the frequency of ‘hot’ days and nights, and decreases in ‘cold’ days and nights during the period 1973-2008.
- There have been no significant or consistent changes observed for mean precipitation since 1960. However, particularly dry periods have occurred in the years 2004, 2005 and 2006.
This section provides the options to visualize historical climate data for different timeframes via map and annual cycle chart.