Climate and Average Weather Year Round in San Diego California, United States
In San Diego, the summers are short, warm, arid, and clear and the winters are long, cool, and partly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 50°F to 77°F and is rarely below 44°F or above 84°F.
Based on the tourism score, the best time of year to visit San Diego for warm-weather activities is from early June to mid October.
Average Temperature in San Diego
The warm season lasts for 2.8 months, from July 10 to October 4, with an average daily high temperature above 75°F. The hottest month of the year in San Diego is August, with an average high of 77°F and low of 68°F.
The cool season lasts for 4.1 months, from November 29 to April 2, with an average daily high temperature below 67°F. The coldest month of the year in San Diego is December, with an average low of 51°F and high of 65°F.
The figure below shows you a compact characterization of the entire year of hourly average temperatures. The horizontal axis is the day of the year, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the color is the average temperature for that hour and day.
Casablanca, Morocco (5,969 miles away) and Mossel Bay, South Africa (10,115 miles) are the far-away foreign places with temperatures most similar to San Diego (view comparison).
In San Diego, the average percentage of the sky covered by clouds experiences significant seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The clearer part of the year in San Diego begins around May 7 and lasts for 5.9 months, ending around November 2.
The clearest month of the year in San Diego is September, during which on average the sky is clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 89% of the time.
The cloudier part of the year begins around November 2 and lasts for 6.1 months, ending around May 7.
The cloudiest month of the year in San Diego is February, during which on average the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 41% of the time.
A wet day is one with at least 0.04 inches of liquid or liquid-equivalent precipitation. The chance of wet days in San Diego varies throughout the year.
The wetter season lasts 4.6 months, from November 19 to April 7, with a greater than 10% chance of a given day being a wet day. The month with the most wet days in San Diego is February, with an average of 5.2 days with at least 0.04 inches of precipitation.
The drier season lasts 7.4 months, from April 7 to November 19. The month with the fewest wet days in San Diego is June, with an average of 0.2 days with at least 0.04 inches of precipitation.
Among wet days, we distinguish between those that experience rain alone, snow alone, or a mixture of the two. The month with the most days of rain alone in San Diego is February, with an average of 5.2 days. Based on this categorization, the most common form of precipitation throughout the year is rain alone, with a peak probability of 20% on February 21.
To show variation within the months and not just the monthly totals, we show the rainfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. San Diego experiences significant seasonal variation in monthly rainfall.
The rainy period of the year lasts for 5.9 months, from October 25 to April 22, with a sliding 31-day rainfall of at least 0.5 inches. The month with the most rain in San Diego is February, with an average rainfall of 2.3 inches.
The rainless period of the year lasts for 6.1 months, from April 22 to October 25. The month with the least rain in San Diego is June, with an average rainfall of 0.0 inches.
The length of the day in San Diego varies significantly over the course of the year. In 2023, the shortest day is December 21, with 10 hours, 0 minutes of daylight; the longest day is June 21, with 14 hours, 19 minutes of daylight.
The earliest sunrise is at 5:40 AM on June 12, and the latest sunrise is 1 hour, 29 minutes later at 7:08 AM on November 4. The earliest sunset is at 4:42 PM on December 4, and the latest sunset is 3 hours, 18 minutes later at 8:00 PM on June 29.
Daylight saving time (DST) is observed in San Diego during 2023, starting in the spring on March 12, lasting 7.8 months, and ending in the fall on November 5.
The figure below presents a compact representation of the sun's elevation (the angle of the sun above the horizon) and azimuth (its compass bearing) for every hour of every day in the reporting period. The horizontal axis is the day of the year and the vertical axis is the hour of the day. For a given day and hour of that day, the background color indicates the azimuth of the sun at that moment. The black isolines are contours of constant solar elevation.
The figure below presents a compact representation of key lunar data for 2023. The horizontal axis is the day, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the colored areas indicate when the moon is above the horizon. The vertical gray bars (new Moons) and blue bars (full Moons) indicate key Moon phases.
We base the humidity comfort level on the dew point, as it determines whether perspiration will evaporate from the skin, thereby cooling the body. Lower dew points feel drier and higher dew points feel more humid. Unlike temperature, which typically varies significantly between night and day, dew point tends to change more slowly, so while the temperature may drop at night, a muggy day is typically followed by a muggy night.
San Diego experiences some seasonal variation in the perceived humidity.
The muggier period of the year lasts for 3.0 months, from July 5 to October 4, during which time the comfort level is muggy, oppressive, or miserable at least 6% of the time. The month with the most muggy days in San Diego is August, with 5.9 days that are muggy or worse.
The least muggy day of the year is March 8, when muggy conditions are essentially unheard of.
This section discusses the wide-area hourly average wind vector (speed and direction) at 10 meters above the ground. The wind experienced at any given location is highly dependent on local topography and other factors, and instantaneous wind speed and direction vary more widely than hourly averages.
The average hourly wind speed in San Diego experiences mild seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The windier part of the year lasts for 6.8 months, from November 13 to June 5, with average wind speeds of more than 6.9 miles per hour. The windiest month of the year in San Diego is December, with an average hourly wind speed of 7.9 miles per hour.
The calmer time of year lasts for 5.2 months, from June 5 to November 13. The calmest month of the year in San Diego is August, with an average hourly wind speed of 5.9 miles per hour.
The predominant average hourly wind direction in San Diego varies throughout the year.
The wind is most often from the west for 10 months, from January 25 to December 1, with a peak percentage of 79% on May 23. The wind is most often from the east for 1.8 months, from December 1 to January 25, with a peak percentage of 39% on January 1.
San Diego is located near a large body of water (e.g., ocean, sea, or large lake). This section reports on the wide-area average surface temperature of that water.
The average water temperature experiences some seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The time of year with warmer water lasts for 2.9 months, from July 12 to October 8, with an average temperature above 68°F. The month of the year in San Diego with the warmest water is August, with an average temperature of 69°F.
The time of year with cooler water lasts for 4.4 months, from December 10 to April 21, with an average temperature below 61°F. The month of the year in San Diego with the coolest water is February, with an average temperature of 59°F.
Best Time of Year to Visit
To characterize how pleasant the weather is in San Diego throughout the year, we compute two travel scores.
The tourism score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 65°F and 80°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit San Diego for general outdoor tourist activities is from early June to mid October, with a peak score in the third week of August.
Tourism Score in San Diego
The beach/pool score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 75°F and 90°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit San Diego for hot-weather activities is from late July to mid September, with a peak score in the last week of August.
Beach/Pool Score in San Diego
For each hour between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM of each day in the analysis period (1980 to 2016), independent scores are computed for perceived temperature, cloud cover, and total precipitation. Those scores are combined into a single hourly composite score, which is then aggregated into days, averaged over all the years in the analysis period, and smoothed.
Our cloud cover score is 10 for fully clear skies, falling linearly to 9 for mostly clear skies, and to 1 for fully overcast skies.
Our precipitation score, which is based on the three-hour precipitation centered on the hour in question, is 10 for no precipitation, falling linearly to 9 for trace precipitation, and to 0 for 0.04 inches of precipitation or more.
Our tourism temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 50°F, rising linearly to 9 for 65°F, to 10 for 75°F, falling linearly to 9 for 80°F, and to 1 for 90°F or hotter.
Our beach/pool temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 65°F, rising linearly to 9 for 75°F, to 10 for 82°F, falling linearly to 9 for 90°F, and to 1 for 100°F or hotter.
Definitions of the growing season vary throughout the world, but for the purposes of this report, we define it as the longest continuous period of non-freezing temperatures (≥ 32°F) in the year (the calendar year in the Northern Hemisphere, or from July 1 until June 30 in the Southern Hemisphere).
Temperatures in San Diego are sufficiently warm year round that it is not entirely meaningful to discuss the growing season in these terms. We nevertheless include the chart below as an illustration of the distribution of temperatures experienced throughout the year.
Growing degree days are a measure of yearly heat accumulation used to predict plant and animal development, and defined as the integral of warmth above a base temperature, discarding any excess above a maximum temperature. In this report, we use a base of 50°F and a cap of 86°F.
This section discusses the total daily incident shortwave solar energy reaching the surface of the ground over a wide area, taking full account of seasonal variations in the length of the day, the elevation of the Sun above the horizon, and absorption by clouds and other atmospheric constituents. Shortwave radiation includes visible light and ultraviolet radiation.
The average daily incident shortwave solar energy experiences extreme seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The brighter period of the year lasts for 3.9 months, from April 24 to August 20, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter above 7.3 kWh. The brightest month of the year in San Diego is June, with an average of 8.3 kWh.
The darker period of the year lasts for 3.2 months, from November 6 to February 11, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter below 4.2 kWh. The darkest month of the year in San Diego is December, with an average of 3.2 kWh.
For the purposes of this report, the geographical coordinates of San Diego are 32.715 deg latitude, -117.157 deg longitude, and 62 ft elevation.
The topography within 2 miles of San Diego contains only modest variations in elevation, with a maximum elevation change of 305 feet and an average elevation above sea level of 93 feet. Within 10 miles contains only modest variations in elevation (1,552 feet). Within 50 miles contains very significant variations in elevation (6,483 feet).
The area within 2 miles of San Diego is covered by artificial surfaces (72%) and water (21%), within 10 miles by artificial surfaces (56%) and water (37%), and within 50 miles by water (48%) and shrubs (33%).
This report illustrates the typical weather in San Diego, based on a statistical analysis of historical hourly weather reports and model reconstructions from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2016.
Temperature and Dew Point
There are 3 weather stations near enough to contribute to our estimation of the temperature and dew point in San Diego.
For each station, the records are corrected for the elevation difference between that station and San Diego according to the International Standard Atmosphere , and by the relative change present in the MERRA-2 satellite-era reanalysis between the two locations.
The estimated value at San Diego is computed as the weighted average of the individual contributions from each station, with weights proportional to the inverse of the distance between San Diego and a given station.
The stations contributing to this reconstruction are:
To get a sense of how much these sources agree with each other, you can view a comparison of San Diego and the stations that contribute to our estimates of its temperature history and climate. Please note that each source's contribution is adjusted for elevation and the relative change present in the MERRA-2 data.
All data relating to the Sun's position (e.g., sunrise and sunset) are computed using astronomical formulas from the book, Astronomical Algorithms 2nd Edition , by Jean Meeus.
All other weather data, including cloud cover, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and solar flux, come from NASA's MERRA-2 Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis . This reanalysis combines a variety of wide-area measurements in a state-of-the-art global meteorological model to reconstruct the hourly history of weather throughout the world on a 50-kilometer grid.
Land Use data comes from the Global Land Cover SHARE database , published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Elevation data comes from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) , published by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Names, locations, and time zones of places and some airports come from the GeoNames Geographical Database .
Time zones for airports and weather stations are provided by AskGeo.com .
Maps are © OpenStreetMap contributors.
The information on this site is provided as is, without any assurances as to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Weather data is prone to errors, outages, and other defects. We assume no responsibility for any decisions made on the basis of the content presented on this site.
We draw particular cautious attention to our reliance on the MERRA-2 model-based reconstructions for a number of important data series. While having the tremendous advantages of temporal and spatial completeness, these reconstructions: (1) are based on computer models that may have model-based errors, (2) are coarsely sampled on a 50 km grid and are therefore unable to reconstruct the local variations of many microclimates, and (3) have particular difficulty with the weather in some coastal areas, especially small islands.
We further caution that our travel scores are only as good as the data that underpin them, that weather conditions at any given location and time are unpredictable and variable, and that the definition of the scores reflects a particular set of preferences that may not agree with those of any particular reader.
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