OBJECTIVE: To explore the characteristics of seasonal distribution of active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and the influences of meteorological factors including temperature and humidity on active systemic lupus erythematosus. METHODS: The characteristics of seasonal distribution of active SLE and its correlation with meteorological factors were retrospectively analyzed in 640 patients living in the city of Zhanjiang, China and had active SLE between January 1997 and December 2006. RESULTS: In winter, when there are weaker ultraviolet (UV) rays, the ratio of patients with active SLE to total inpatients was 3.89 %o, which is significantly higher than in other seasons with stronger UV rays, including 2.17 %o in spring, 1.87 0 in summer and 2.12 0 in autumn. The number of patients with active SLE had significant negative correlation with mean temperature and was not significantly related to mean humidity. CONCLUSION: Active SLE has the characteristics of seasonal distribution and is associated with temperature. The mechanism remains to be further studied.