South Africa

Explore historical and projected climate data, climate data by sector, impacts, key vulnerabilities and what adaptation measures are being taken. Explore the overview for a general context of how climate change is affecting South Africa.

Country Summary

This page presents high-level information for South Africa'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 South Africa's country context and climate is provided following the visualizations.

Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification, 1991-2020
  • Af
  • Am
  • As/Aw
  • BWh
  • BWk
  • BSh
  • BSk
  • Csa
  • Csb
  • Csc
  • Cwa
  • Cwb
  • Cwc
  • Cfa
  • Cfb
  • Cfc
  • Dsa
  • Dsb
  • Dsc
  • Dsd
  • Dwa
  • Dwb
  • Dwc
  • Dwd
  • Dfa
  • Dfb
  • Dfc
  • Dfd
  • ET
  • EF

South Africa is Africa’s second largest economy with a population of 53 million, an abundant supply of natural resources, but also possesses one of the highest levels of social-economic inequality in the world. Real GDP growth has been revised downward significantly and is now only expected to reach 0.4% in 2016, with risks to the downside. 2017 is expected to see a moderate uptick to 1.1%. South Africa remains a dual economy with one of the highest inequality rates in the world, perpetuating both inequality and exclusion. The current administration is acutely aware of the immense challenges it needs to overcome them to accelerate progress and build a more inclusive society. Its vision and the priorities it is making to address them are outlined in the 2030 National Development Plan (NDP), which comprises the two main strategic goals of eliminating poverty and reducing inequality from 0.70 to 0.60 by 2030.

Department of Environment is the designated body to develop and implement policies related to climate change. Recognizing climate change is already a measurable reality, South Africa released the National Climate Change Response Policy in 2011 (NCCRP) which highlights the country’s planned approach to mitigation and adaptation. In 2015, the country submitted its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) on adaptation, mitigation as well as finance and investment requirements for both. In addition, it ratified the Paris Agreement in December 2016.  South Africa’s NDC was formulated in the context of the environmental right set out in section 24 of the Constitution, and its 2030 NDP.