Commonly referred to as La Isla de la Eterna Primavera, which translates to the island of eternal spring, Tenerife really does embody its moniker. Winter and summer are essentially indistinguishable in temperature, given the region’s sub-tropical climate on year-round basis.
Given its location on Africa’s western coast, Tenerife lies on the same line of latitude as the Sahara. As such, the pleasant climate conditions that can be experienced most of the year should not come as a tremendous surprise.
The weather in Tenerife is generally very mild and averages between 20 and 22 degrees Celsius in winter and between 26 and 28 degrees in the summertime. Sun tends to shine during all twelve months. While there are rare occurrences in winter when the sun feels as though it has gone into hiding, this is certainly not the norm. The bottom line is that no matter when a visit to Tenerife is planned, the weather is highly likely to be pleasant indeed.
The tradewinds have a fair amount of influence over the weather in Tenerife, and when they hit the northern and northwesterly zones, they transform into high, condensed cloud banks. When combined with older currents from the Atlantic Ocean, the mountainous regions and deep valleys, the winds can produce noticeable climatological distinctions across the different regions.
During the winter months, it is entirely possible for there to be warm sun in southern coastal areas, but also snow in the high altitudes near Mount Teide. The differences can be staggering at times, with the town of Santa Cruz possibly having heat and sun while neighbouring La Laguna sees cooler temperatures and the possibility of showers.
The northern and southern portions of Tenerife see the most substantial contrasts in weather conditions. More than 75 percent of the island’s rain is seen on the northern side, with lush landscapes standing as evidence of this.
There are times when Tenerife will witness serious rain showers. Fortunately, these tend to be fairly brief in duration, and the sun returns hastily.
It is not unheard of for Tenerife’s climate to take an uncomfortable turn with hot winds blowing vigorously. The phenomenon marks the appearance of the Calima, wind that comes from the Sahara region. Somewhat like the notorious Sirocco, this wind develops when elevated pressure accumulates in North Africa. Cooler northern fronts from the Canary Islands sweep up debris from the desert to create heated winds containing notable amounts of sand.
When conditions converge in just the right manner, it is possible for a depression to form to the southwest of the Canaries, something which makes the Calima far more intense. During such times, Tenerife in its entirety can acquire a coat of sand and also experience limited visibility. During a 2002 storm, it was necessary to shut down the airport for a time.
The term Calima comes from the Canary Islands and is used to describe the existence of dust in the air that originated from the Sahara and Sahel regions. When the Calima is at its worse, the air takes on a marked thickness and a reddish hue, with lower visibility quite common as well.
It is most common for the Calima to appear during spring as well as during the summer. This is when the dust clouds that develop in the Sahara and the Sahel make their way across the Atlantic, sometimes going all the way to America. This is a fascinating climatological occurrence, without a doubt, and is something that makes visiting or living in Tenerife a unique undertaking. Anyone who has ever been to Tenerife will attest to this fact.