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The climate of China
Being an enormous country in Asia several climate types can be found within China. The country is also known for the extreme weather conditions that may occur here. Floods, hurricanes (typhoons), sand storms, heavy hail storms, extreme heat and extreme cold temperatures cause the country to hit the headlines in the international news.


Climate information of places and areas in China
The climate information given on this page is only brief. Specific information on weather and climate can be found on the pages per region or city. The following climate information is available for China.
Climate information on cities and regions in China

Dali City

China climate
China is the only country in the world after which a climate type is named. According to the Köppen climate classification a China climate is a moderate climate with wet summers and is known as a Cw-climate. A climate is classified as a China climate when the wettest month in the summer gets at least ten times the amount of precipitation as the driest month of winter. The average temperature of the coldest month has to be between -3 and 18 degrees Celsius and at least one month has to have an average temperature of 10 degrees Celsius or more. This climate type doesn’t occur in all of China, in total less than half of China has this climate type. A China climate can also be found in India, Brazil, Paraguay and in other South American countries and in the south of Africa.

Where weather and climate are concerned China is a land of many contrasts. During the summer the western part of China may get large amounts of rain while other parts in the west may be very dry at the same time. There may also be large differences in temperature within China at the same time. A difference of tens of degrees Celsius may occur during summer as well as during winter. Locally, contrasts between the seasons may be very large as well. In the northern part of the country the desert climate causes extreme cold during winter (temperatures around -30 degrees Celsius) while temperatures of 30-40 degrees Celsius can be recorded during summer.

The dry North
The northern part of China mainly consists of high plains without any significant peaks. Desert climates and steppe climates can be found here with dry and cold winters and warm to hot summers. During the winter the climate is influenced by the Siberian cold causing temperatures to drop to -20 or even -30 degrees Celsius on these high plains. The lower parts in the north east are far less cold. During the winter temperatures are around freezing point here. The northern part of China doesn’t get much rain. The areas bordering Mongolia get about 150 millimeters of annual precipitation. The wettest areas are the lower areas in the east with about 700 millimeters of annual precipitation. Most of the precipitation falls during summer. During the winter precipitation figures are lowest, most of the precipitation falls in the form of snow. In extreme cases the coastal areas may get large amounts of snow. With about 3,000 hours of annual sunshine the northern part of China is among the sunniest in Asia and even in the world.

The mountainous west
The western part of China consists of a combination of mountains and deserts. The Himalayas can be found here, the highest mountain peaks in the world in a rugged landscape alternated with green hills and a large number of rivers. The higher parts have a high mountain climate (type EH), in the lower parts steppe climates and desert climates can be found and on the eastern side of the Himalayas there is a China climate. During the winter it is cold in the entire western part of China. In the northerly located desert areas temperatures are between -10 and -30 degrees Celsius during the winter. Temperatures are slightly higher in the south as long as you stay below 3,500-4,000 meters. Below these altitudes average temperatures in the Himalayas are -10 degrees Celsius. It may be extremely cold during the winter on the high peaks, in combination with thin air and (fierce) winds from the cold north conditions are harsh for both man and beast. After a short spring the warm and sunny summer starts. Warm air is supplied from the west and cause temperatures to rise to 25-30 degrees Celsius, with the exception of the high mountains where temperatures are much lower. On the high mountain peaks everlasting snow can be found. The region is known for dust storms in March, April and sometimes in February. These storms occur when the frozen ground thaws. The sand and dust is transported by the wind over large distances and causes poor visibility. During these storms the air colors gray, yellow or even black.

Monsoon and wind in the south east
The smallest differences in temperatures between summer and winter can be found in the south eastern part of China. During the winter subzero temperatures during the day are uncommon in almost the entire region. Subzero temperatures during the night may occur in the interior (Wuhan, Lake Dongting, Suizhou, Changsha). Along the coast in the south subzero temperatures are uncommon. Along the eastern coast subzero temperatures hardly ever occur. Snowfall only occurs in the lower eastern part of China. Summers in the south-eastern part of China are warm to very warm. Daytime temperatures are between 30 and 35 degrees Celsius on average. Temperatures are reasonably constant without any peaks. Night time temperatures are high as well, minimum temperatures hardly ever drop below 22-25 degrees Celsius. In combination with high humidity figures summers are muggy. The monsoon is also during the summer. During this rainy period large amounts of rain fall, especially in the south easterly coastal areas. The wettest areas can record 200-400 millimeters of precipitation per month during the summer. These figures may even be higher during a tropical depression or hurricane. During the hurricane season from June till November several hurricanes may reach China. However, inconvenience is mostly limited to the coastal areas because hurricanes lose strength when they make landfall. The lower eastern parts of China regularly flood during the summer caused by heavy rainfall in a short period of time. There are often more casualties and there is more damage caused by these floods here than in America and the Caribbean. However, China gets far less media interest and aid from the west.


Climate figures
The figures below are for Shanghai and cannot be seen as an average for the country. Because the climate in China is so diverse please, visit the individual climate pages for figures on other places and regions in China.

temperature (°C)


temperature (°C)
hours of sunshine

average days with precipitation
per month
per month
temperature (°C)
January 7 0 4 10 10
February 8 1 4 11 8
March 12 5 5 14 8
April 18 10 5 15 11
May 23 16 6 15 16
June 27 20 6 15 21
July 31 25 7 12 25
August 31 25 8 11 27
September 27 21 6 13 25
October 22 15 5 12 22
November 17 9 5 11 18
December 10 2 5 10 14
= 0-5 mm ● = 6-30 mm ● = 31-60 mm ● = 61-100 mm ● = 101-200 mm ● = over 200 mm
= 0-0.2 inches ● = 0.2-1.2 inches ● = 1.2-2.4 inches ● = 2.5-4 inches ● = 4.1-8 inches ● = over 8 inches

More climate information
Climate tables are useful but they don’t give an overall picture of the climate and possible weather conditions during a period of time. How high the chances are of hot or cold weather or hurricanes can often not be found in these tables. This is why we offer extra climate information per month. The information below is an average for Shanghai, situated on the west coast of China. Because the climate in China is so diverse please, visit the individual climate pages for figures on other places and regions in China

chance of
(very) hot


chance of
(very) cool
chance of

chance of
chance of
sunny days


click here for the explanation of the symbols


The information at this site was carefully composed from climate data collected by meteorological services, meteorological offices, climate experts and other sources. “More climate info” is based on statistics, climate data and personal experience. No rights can be derived from this site. Weather has no memory and gives no guaranties. Nothing is as changeable and unpredictable as the weather. The authors of this site feel in no way responsible for any damages caused by misinterpretation or other circumstances that may influence your holiday or trip to a certain destination. We provide information, it’s up to the reader to use it to it’s benefit.


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