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Natural Resource Economics: Government Resources: Library Guide: Climate data

A guide to government information for Natural Resource Economics students.

Historical data

The Annual Reports of the Cape Colonial Meteorological Commission, 1875-1908, provide rainfall statistics and other climate data. These are in the Cape Colonial Annexures.

We also have the Annual Reports of the Transvaal Meteorological Department, 1903/1904-1909/1910. G 685 ED.METE

We have the Yearly weather report (title varies) from 1929 to 1992 when it ceased publication. G 68 ED.WEAT

The annual South African statistics, 1974 -2004/05 has rainfall data according to rainfall districts and other data according to the main weather stations. There are annual national rainfall figures back to 1873. The data ceased to be published after the 2004/2005 edition.  The former Official yearbook of the Union of South Africa, 1917-1960 has descriptive information as well as statistics, with maps in some volumes.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Central Library.  Foreign Climate Data.  (Includes South African reports from 1920 to 1982.) Go to Collections, choose Weather and Climate, choose Foreign Climate Data, then Africa and South Africa.


Western Cape

We have an Excel file with monthly rainfall statistics for the Western Cape weather stations from 1994 to 2014, supplied by the Agricultural Research Council. The file is saved on our reference PC or you may ask the Librarian to e-mail it to you. We will ask the ARC for further statistics on request.

There are also weather statistics available in Agri-outlook, an online journal of the Western Cape's Department of Agriculture. It has statistics back to 2000.

Current statistics

South African Weather Service. Annual State of the Climate of South Africa, 2019. Pretoria: South African Weather Service, 2020.

South African Weather Service. Annual Climate Summary for South Africa, 2018. Pretoria: South African Weather Service, 2019.

Current weather statistics are available in the monthly Climate summary of South Africa sent by the South African Weather Service. Printed copies are shelved @ G 68 K.CLIM. We have a few issues from 2006-2009, with almost complete sets from 2010 to date. Sabinet's African Journal's database has Volume 17 (2006) to date. 

The South African Weather Service has Historical Synoptic Charts and Historical Rain Maps, but they only go back as far as 2012 and are for the whole country. (Click on Climate drop-down menu on the top bar.)

The Agricultural Research Council's Institute for Soil, Climate and Water publishes the monthly periodical Umlindi : the watchman. It is available from November 2012 onwards.

The annual South African statistics has rainfall data according to rainfall districts and other data according to the main weather stations. The data ceased to be published after the 2004/2005 edition. 

For any other figures one has to e-mail the South African Weather Services and complete a request form and disclaimer. Contact person: 

Joe Matsapola
Scientist: Climate Information, South African Weather Service

Tel: 0822338282/ 0123676029
Fax: 0123676031