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China Climate

Due to the large area that covers a wide range of latitude and longitude, the climate is always diverse greatly from north to south as well as west to east all the year round. So, it is important to know your destinations' weather in advance.

With its vast territory, China covers a wide range of latitude and longitude, and some areas are far from the sea and some are beside or close to the sea. Both the terrain and the climate are varied and complicated. China's climate is dominated by dry and wet monsoons, which makes for clear temperature differences between winter and summer. In summer, influenced by the warm and moist winds from the seas, most parts of the country are hot and rainy. Wuhan, Chongqing, and Nanjing along the Yangtze River are China's three famous 'furnaces'. In winter, the cold and dry winds blowing from the continental land-mass towards the seas are prevalent, so most parts, especially north part of the country, are cold and dry.


In terms of temperature, China can be divided from south to north into six zones: tropical, subtropical, warm-temperate, temperate, cold-temperate, and Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Temperate Zone. Most of the country lies in the North Temperate Zone, characterized by a warm climate and well-defined seasons, with a climate well suited for habitation. The following table provides you with general information on the temperature zone distribution.


Temperature Zone
Distribution Range
Tropical Zone
Hainan Province and the southern parts of Yunnan, Guangdong
and Taiwan Provinces
Subtropical Zone
south of Qinling Mountain-Huaihe River line and eastern
Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
Warm-temperature
Zone
the majority part of the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River
and southern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
Temperate Zone
northeast China, most of Inner Mongolian and northern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
Cold-temperate Zone
the northern parts of Heilongjiang Province and the northeastern
parts of Inner Mongolian
Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
Temperate Zone
Qinghai-Tibet Plateau


Precipitation in China varies a lot from place to place and changes along with the seasons. The rainy season begins earlier in the south and lasts for a longer time, from May to October. In the north, the rainy season lasts for a shorter period of time, predominantly in July and August. Generally speaking, most parts are rainy in summer and autumn and dry in winter and spring. The following table gives overview information of the dry and wet areas distribution in the country.


Area
Distribution Range
Humid Areas
south of Qinling Mountain-Huaihe River line, the southern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, eastern Inner Mongolia, eastern Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning Provinces
Semi-humid Areas
the Northeast Plain, the North China Plain, most of the Loess Plateau
and southeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
Semi-arid Areas
parts of the Inner Mongolian Plateau and Loess Plateau
most of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
Arid Areas
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, western Inner Mongolian Plateau
and northwestern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau


According to the climate difference, China can be divided into six areas - northern, north-eastern, central, western, eastern and southern. The North and Northeast are dry for most of the year, and the winters there are much longer than the other areas. There are usually heavy snows. The central areas are along the Yangtze River, where there are four distinct seasons. The western area is always dry and sunny in summer, but the temperature varies a lot between day and night. Turpan, known as the 'hottest place in China', can be seen as representative, with maximums of around 47 °C  (117 °F). The desert areas can be scorching in the daytime, while it may fall to around 0 °C (32 °F) at night. Because they are near the sea, the eastern parts of China are warmer and more humid, and the temperature changes little between day and night. In contrast to the north and northeast, the winter of the south is short, falling between January and March.


China Climate Types

China Climate Types

 Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Alpine-Cold Climate - Lhasa
Average temperature and rainfall monthly
Month
Jan.
Feb.
March
April
May
June
July
Aug.
Sep.
Oct.
Nov.
Dec.
Average Temperature (C)
-2.1
1.1
4.6
8.1
11.9
15.5
15.3
14.5
12.8
8.1
2.2
-1.7
Average Temperature (F)
28.2
44.0
40.3
46.6
53.4
60.0
59.5
58.1
55.0
46.6
36.0
29.0
Average Rainfall (mm)
0.5
0.7
2.0
5.2
26.6
72.3
119.4
122.6
58.3
10.2
1.7
1.0
Average Rainfall (inch)
0.02
0.03
0.08
0.20
1.05
2.85
4.70
4.83
2.30
0.40
0.07
0.04

 Temperate Continental Climate - Urumqi
Average temperature and rainfall monthly
Month
Jan.
Feb.
March
April
May
June
July
Aug.
Sep.
Oct.
Nov.
Dec.
Average Temperature (C)
-12
-15.1
-4.0
10.1
13.1
21
23.5
22.0
18.1
7.2
-1.1
-6.2
Average Temperature (F)
10.4
4.8
24.8
50.2
55.6
69.8
74.3
71.6
64.6
45.0
30.0
20.8
Average Rainfall (mm)
11.5
9.7
8.7
10.9
18.1
14.2
22.0
13.6
15.4
16.6
19.0
15.6
Average Rainfall (inch)
0.45
0.38
0.34
0.43
0.71
0.56
0.87
0.54
0.61
0.65
0.75
0.61

 Temperate Monsoon Climate - Beijing
Average temperature and rainfall monthly
Month
Jan.
Feb.
March
April
May
June
July
Aug.
Sep.
Oct.
Nov.
Dec.
Average Temperature (C)
-4.6
-2.2
4.5
13.1
19.8
24.0
25.8
24.4
19.4
12.4
4.1
-2.7
Average Temperature (F)
23.7
28.0
40.1
55.6
67.6
75.2
78.4
75.9
66.9
54.3
39.4
27.1
Average Rainfall (mm)
2.7
4.9
8.3
21.2
34.2
78.1
185.2
159.7
45.5
21.8
7.4
2.8
Average Rainfall (inch)
0.11
0.20
0.33
0.83
1.35
3.07
7.29
6.29
1.79
0.86
0.29
0.11

 Sub-tropical Monsoon Climate - Shanghai
Average temperature and rainfall monthly
Month
Jan.
Feb.
March
April
May
June
July
Aug.
Sep.
Oct.
Nov.
Dec.
Average Temperature (C)
3.5
4.6
8.3
14.0
18.8
23.3
27.8
27.7
23.6
18.0
12.3
6.2
Average Temperature (F)
38.3
40.3
46.9
57.2
65.8
73.9
82.0
81.8
74.5
64.4
54.1
43.2
Average Rainfall (mm)
47.6
36.7
119.2
168.8
147.5
157.2
184.6
241.6
60.8
75.3
68.2
120.4
Average Rainfall (inch)
1.87
1.44
4.69
6.65
5.81
6.19
7.27
9.51
2.39
2.96
2.69
4.74

 Tropical Monsoon Climate – Haikou
Average temperature and rainfall monthly
Month
Jan.
Feb.
March
April
May
June
July
Aug.
Sep.
Oct.
Nov.
Dec.
Average Temperature (C)
17.9
18.0
21.3
26.3
27.5
29.0
28.8
28.0
27.2
25.5
22.0
18.8
Average Temperature (F)
64.2
64.4
70.3
79.3
81.5
84.2
83.8
82.4
81.0
77.9
71.6
65.8
Average Rainfall (mm)
36.0
14.0
63.0
37.0
198.0
273.0
252.0
272.0
190.0
313.0
125.0
19.0
Average Rainfall (inch)
1.42
0.55
2.48
1.46
7.80
10.75
9.92
10.71
7.48
12.32
4.92
0.75