Climatology Database

Despite its equatorial location, the Galapagos climate is not as tropical as it could be imagined. The island's  topography, ocean currents and winds interact to modulate temperatures and define two distinct seasons.  

Landsat satellite imagery over western Galapagos.
Landsat satellite imagery over western Galapagos showing typical cloud formations in the (a) hot season, 11 Jan 2010 and (b) cool season, 25 Nov 2009.

From January to May, the southeasterly winds weaken, diminishing the influence of cold waters coming from the Perú “Humboldt” Current and the equatorial upwelling. This is referred as the hot season, characterized by elevated sea and air temperatures, and convective rainfall. From June to December, the winds strengthen and cooler temperatures dominate. 

The hot season occurs in the first half of the year and the cool season in the second half of the year; but both seasons are variable in length. A hotter hot season is likely to be longer; starting earlier than average (even in the previous year) and finishing later. A cooler hot season is likely to be shorter.

These conditions generate a persisting layer of shallow clouds and continuous drizzle in the higher windward sides of the islands, and almost no rainfall in the rest of the archipelago. This rain shadow effect creates two broad terrestrial climatic zones: the humid highlands and dry lowlands, with an intervening transition zone.

The climatic zones in Galapagos
The three climatic zones in Galapagos: humid highlands, dry lowlands and transition zone.

Our Meteorological Stations

Choose one among our meteorological stations to see its data.

Climate Variables from Digital Weather Stations Darwin Project

Dynamics of precipitation in transition: The water source for the Galápagos Archipelago under climate change.

This network of 11 automatic weather stations (AWS) establishes a transect West-East (W-E) according to the locations of the islands on the archipelago, their altitude, and their exposition towards synoptic forcing.

We share standard high-temporal resolution data about precipitation, air temperature and humidity, solar radiation, and wind speed and direction. In the coast stations of Santa Cruz turbulence is also offered. In the Cerro Crocker AWS, Santa Cruz island, we have some specialized equipment (radar and optical sensor) to compare precipitation variables.

Click on the red points to display information about the DARWIN weather stations.


Bibliographical References

  • Defeo, O., Castrejón, M., Ortega, L., Kuhn, A. M., Gutiérrez, N. L., & Castilla, J. C. (2013). Impacts of Climate Variability on Latin American Small-scale Fisheries. Ecology and Society, 18(4).

  • Bush, M. B., P. A. Colinvaux, M. Steinitz-Kannan, J. T. Overpeck, J. Sachs, J. E. Cole, Collins, J. L. Conroy, and A. Restrepo. (2010) Forty years of paleoecology on the Galapagos. Galapagos Research, No. 67:55-64

  • Huttel, C. (1995) Vegetación en coladas de lava. ORSTOM y Fundación Charles Darwin, Quito, Ecuador.
  • Robinson, G., and E. del Pino. (1985) El Niño in the Galápagos Islands: The 1982-1983 event. Charles Darwin Foundation, Quito, Ecuador.
  • Sachs, J., S. N. Ladd, J. E. Cole, P. Goyes, D. Manzello, R. Martinez, C. Palacios, G. A. Vecchi, and L. Xie. (2010) Climate and oceanography of the Galápagos in the 21st century: expected changes and research needs. Galapagos Research, No. 67:50-51.
  • Snell, H., & S. Rea. (1999) The 1997-1998 El Niño in Galápagos: Can 34 years of data estimate 120 years of pattern? Noticias de Galápagos No. 60:11-20.
  • Trueman, M. and d’Ozouville, N. (2010) Characterizing the Galapagos terrestrial climate in the face of climate change. Galapagos Research, No. 67.
  • Wolff, M. (2010) Galapagos does not show recent warming but increased seasonality. Noticias de Galápagos 67: 38-44.


The mission of the Charles Darwin Foundation and its Research Station is to tackle the greatest threats and challenges to Galapagos through scientific research and conservation action, in order to safeguard one of the world’s most important natural treasures.

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