Climate Change Overview

Country Summary

This page presents high-level information for El Salvador's climate zones and its seasonal cycle for mean temperature and precipitation for the latest climatology, 1991-2020. Climate zone classifications are derived from the Köppen-Geiger climate classification system, which divides climates into five main climate groups divided based on seasonal precipitation and temperature patterns. The five main groups are A (tropical), B (dry), C (temperate), D (continental), and E (polar). All climates except for those in the E group are assigned a seasonal precipitation sub-group (second letter).  Climate classifications are identified by hovering your mouse over the legend. A narrative overview of El Salvador's country context and climate is provided following the visualizations.

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, located in the tropical belt, and within the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The country has a land area of just over 21,000 square kilometers (km2), shares borders with Guatemala and Honduras and has a long coastline along the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador has a diverse landscape with coastal zones leading to steep topography, with many slopes of above 30 degrees, short watersheds and one major river: the Lempa. The country is divided into three distinct geographical regions: the southern coastal belt, the central valley and plateaus, and the northern mountains. Approximately 60% of people reside in urban areas and 40% in rural areas. El Salvador has one of the highest population densities on the continent, with 313 inhabitants per km2 at national level; over ¼ of the population lives in the capital city, San Salvador. 

El Salvador is among the countries most affected by weather-related events and other hazards, incurring annual losses of around 2.5 percent of GDP. Worldwide, it ranks second highest for risk exposure to two or more hazards, and highest for the total population at a relatively high risk of mortality. El Salvador submitted its Nationally-Determined Contribution (NDC) to the UNFCCC in 2016 which provided the platform to integrate its Low Carbon Development Strategy into the country’s climate change adaptation and mitigation programming. The country has established priorities to include climate-resilient, low-carbon coastal-urban development, improved ecosystem and landscape rehabilitation and forest initiatives. Agriculture and fisheries are considered instrumental to El Salvador’s inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction goals. The country has identified urban and coastal development, forestry, sea level rise, and salinization of coastal areas as key areas for its current and future climate change adaptation portfolios.