The enviable climate of the Canary Islands has earned them the name of ‘Islas Fortunadas’ or the Fortunate Islands and this is certainly no exaggeration. With mild winters, summers which are generally not too hot and relatively little rain, it’s no wonder so many people want to holiday — or even live — here.
At this latitude, being so close to the equator, one would expect the island to be unbearably hot, especially with such a small amount of vegetation. However this just isn't the case, as can be seen from the annual climate chart (summary)
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Detailed Temperature Data
There are two main reasons for the island's constant temperature, firstly the island is in the path of the North-East Trade Wind and secondly the cool Canary Current.
North-East Trade Wind
The trade winds are especially frequent in summer — just when they are needed — and are nearly constant in the month of July. They occur when the Azores anticyclone is located at its normal location near to the Canarian Archipelago.
This situation is caused by hot air over the Equator rising to great altitudes and flowing North. As the air travels Northwards, it cools causing it to sink lower again somewhere over the Azores. Due to the Coriolis force, this air then flows South-westwards towards the Canary Islands and Lanzarote.
This is why the Northern coastline tends to have higher winds than the Southern which is protected to some degree by the volcanoes in the middle of the island.
You would think that the wind travelling over the ocean would bring with it rain — which Lanzarote doesn’t have a lot of — however it doesn't because as one of the lowest islands in the Canarian Archipelago, the mountains are not high enough to convert the moist air into rain, other than at Famara.
The area around the foot of the cliffs at Famara is quite wet however, because the cliffs are the highest point on the island and rising straight out of the sea they are basically the first thing the Trade Wind meets when it hits Lanzarote. Not that this bothers the surfers or kite-surfers for whom the location produces near perfect conditions.
The second cooling effect in force around Lanzarote is the cool Canary Current in the waters of the Atlantic. This is caused by the Trade Winds again, which drive the water to the Southwest along the coast of Africa, bringing colder water towards the Equator. As it moves south past the Canary Islands the current becomes faster and faster until it meets warmer water flowing North just beyond the Canaries.
This colder water cools the islands and keeps them at a spring like temperature all year round.
The Canary Current is also one of the reasons for the productivity and diversity of marine life around the Islands.
Lanzarote is at 29° Latitude, which makes it the same as parts of Florida, the Bahamas and of course it’s nearest main landmass neighbour Morocco.
These two influences combine to ensure that the weather in Lanzarote remains clement all year round and not too hot.
Although the temperature is fairly constant, Lanzarote does occasionally experience a hot-spell which is usually caused by warm air being drawn directly in from the Sahara. Sometimes this air is laden with sand, which is known as a Calima. The hot spells normally only last for a few days at a time.