Monthly weather forecast and climate

Flag of China
Flag of China

The climate of China

China is a vast country with diverse climatic patterns. The climate ranges from tropical monsoon in the northeast (Köppen climate classification Am, Aw) to temperate type (Köppen variations of Cw, Cf, Dw, Ds, Df) in the east and south. The northwest is arid (Köppen BSh, BSk), while the high mountains in the west and southwest exhibit a tundra type climate (Köppen ET). China occupies a large part of East Asia and shares borders with fourteen countries on land plus four on water. The latitudes, high mountain ranges, monsoonal rains, and proximity to seas in the east, influence the climate.

China has a diverse topography with high plateaus, snow-capped mountains, rolling plains, broad river valleys, and vast deserts. The southern coasts and eastern plains have the most fertile lands in the country. The north and west have arid lands, massifs, sunken basins, and the highest tableland of Tibet in the world. Eastern China consists of plains in the northeast and north and hills in the south. The Xinjiang-Mongolia region in the northwest contains the vast Taklamakan Desert. The highlands in the west and southwest consist of the world's highest mountain peaks, such as Mount Everest (8848 meters) and K2. Major rivers such has the Yangzte, Yellow, Heilongjiang, Zhujiang, and Liaohe flow from west to east, into the Pacific Ocean. Seas such as the Yellow, East China, and South China are parts of the Pacific Ocean. Shishapangma is the tallest peak to lie entirely in China with a height of 8013 meters in the Tibetan Himalayas.

Summers are hot everywhere in China except for the high mountains and highlands. Winters are cold in the north and mild in the south. Manchuria, the northeast part of China, has hot, rainy summers and frigid, dry winters. July is the hottest, while January is the coldest month of the year. The northwest is arid with hot summers and freezing winters. Turpan is the hottest region in China, with an average high temperature of 40°C (104°F) in July. The mountain ranges in the west, including the Himalayas, Pamir, Karakoram, and the Tian Shan remain cold, even in the summer. The average temperatures on Mount Everest are between -18.9°C (-2°F) to -36.1°C (-33°F) in January. Snowfall occurs through much of winter, and even in the summer. The mountains are relatively warm in the southern province of Yunnan. January average highs register at 15.6°C (60.1°F) at the height of 2000 meters. The southern border with Burma and Vietnam sees heavy rainfall during the hot and humid summers. Winters are very cold in the central region, with average temperatures between -10°C (14°F) to 0°C (32°F) in January. Summer is hot and humid in the capital city of Beijing. The eastern coastal areas have a temperate climate with mild summers and winters. Shanghai receives up to 1168.4mm (46") of rain annually.

The annual rainfall in China ranges from a scarce 254mm (10") in the northwest to more than 1524mm (60") in the southeast. The monsoonal rains arrive during the hot summer, which is the period of the highest humidity. The southeast is the rainiest, while the northwest is the driest region. June to August is the period of the highest rainfall. Precipitation frequently occurs in May and September in many places. Sunshine is ample and registers between 1800 hours to 2800 hours. The northern region is the sunniest, while the eastern region is the cloudiest. Chengdu, in southwest China, is one of the cloudiest regions with only 1172 hours of sunshine annually. A substantial amount of snowfall occurs on the high mountain peaks. Snow is evident in the highlands in the winter but is scarce in the lower plateaus and the lower half of the country.

The highest temperature on record for China is 50.3°C (122.5°F), set in Turpan, Xinjiang, on July 24, 2015. The record for the lowest temperature is -57.8°C (-72°F), set in Genhe, Inner Mongolia, on December 31, 2009.

The best time to visit China

The best times to visit China are during the mild seasons of spring and autumn. The period from September to November is particularly enjoyable, with mild temperatures and modest rain. The sunshine is adequate and warm in the day, while the nights are cozy and pleasantly cold. May and September are the best months to visit Manchuria in the northeast, where the conditions are temperate. The weather is at its best in March and April in the far south, where the temperatures are mild, and the skies are mostly clear. Expeditions to the north face of Mount Everest usually target June as an ideal month for reaching the top.

The worst time to visit China

The worst time to visit China is from June to August in the monsoon. The rainy season delivers the majority of the annual rainfall and is humid, cloudy, and hot. The heat index is unbearable at times for visitors from temperate zones. The coastal regions bear the brunt of the rain that reaches significant portions. The summer is an extreme season in the arid northwest where day temperatures reach epic numbers. Travel becomes challenging in the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts. Typhoons frequent the coasts during the summer.

Weather hazards

China faces weather hazards like dust storms, thunderstorms, floods, tropical cyclones, typhoons, and earthquakes. Thunderstorms frequently occur in the rainy season with lightning and rain. Heavy monsoon rains create dangers of floods and mudslides. Dust storms are common in the desert belt and reach as far as Beijing. Hurricanes with wind speeds of more than 241.4km/h (150mph) are possible in the winter in the mountains. Tropical storms mainly occur on the southern and eastern coasts. Typhoons that originate in the Pacific Ocean are frequent in the southern seas during summer and early autumn season. Strong winds and heavy rainfall are evident during typhoons. The western mountain region of China is prone to frequent seismic activities.

Weather in January

January is usually the coldest month in China, especially in the north, where the temperatures drop to extreme levels. Hailar in Inner Mongolia registers freezing temperatures that average between -20°C (-4°F) to -31.1°C (-24°F). Weather in January »

Weather in February

February is a winter month in China with scanty rainfall in much of the country. The diverse landscape ensures cold days in the north and mild weather in the south. Cold air masses from Siberia penetrate the northern part of the country. Weather in February »

Weather in March

March gradually transitions into the spring season in China with a rise in temperatures. The northern provinces, such as Heilongjiang, Tianjin, and Hebei, are still cold, with average low temperatures between -9.4°C (15.1°F) to 1.7°C (35.1°F). Weather in March »

Weather in April

April is a pleasant month in China as the temperatures are warm, even in the north. The average temperatures are above freezing in coldest parts, and snowfall limits to only the high mountain peaks. Chengdu in the south registers average temperatures in the beautiful 12.8°C (55°F) to 21.7°C (71.1°F) range and is a popular tourist hotspot. The giant pandas are a primary attraction in the green landscape of Chengdu in spring. Weather in April »

Weather in May

May is warm to hot in China as the last days of the spring season see a significant rise in temperatures. Haikou in the south is considerably hot, with temperatures in the 21.7°C (71.1°F) to 29.4°C (84.9°F) zone. Baotou and Hohhot, in Inner Mongolia, have warm temperatures in the 8.9°C (48°F) to 23.9°C (75°F) range. The average temperatures between 24.4°C (75.9°F) to 32.2°C (90°F) in the warm mountains of Kunming make it a desirable place for a vacation. Weather in May »

Weather in June

June is a hot, humid, and wet month in China with the arrival of the summer season. The beginning of the typhoon season has a significant impact on tourist numbers in the south. Abundant rainfall occurs along the coast, even as sea temperatures remain warm on the eastern and southern coasts. The average temperatures in Shenyang in the north are between 17.2°C (63°F) to 27.2°C (81°F). Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is hot and wet in China, with the humidity levels at the highest of the year. Mornings are humid, while the stickiness tends to be lower in the afternoons. The monsoon reaches the Chinese hinterland by the end of the month. The average temperatures in the Hubei and Henan regions in the south are in the hot range of 22.8°C (73°F) to 32.8°C (91°F). Weather in July »

Weather in August

August is hot and wet in China, with cloudy skies and a high level of humidity. The central and east portions are hottest, followed by the cloudy south. The average temperatures are between 23.9°C (75°F) to 33.9°C (93°F) in the hottest regions. Hongkong and Macau in the southcentral region are the rainiest with 355.6mm (14") to 406.4mm (16") of precipitation in August. Weather in August »

Weather in September

September is a pleasant month in China with warm temperatures and partly cloudy skies in the autumn season. The average temperatures in the Jilin province in the northeast are mild between 9.4°C (48.9°F) and 22.8°C (73°F). Weather in September »

Weather in October

October is a pleasant month in China, with a significant decrease in precipitation and heat. Much of the north begins to experience freezing nights, while the day temperatures are in the 11.7°C (53.1°F) to 21.1°C (70°F) range. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November is mild to cold in China as the autumn season draws to a close. The highlands and mountain slopes receive flurries of snow. The Tibet region is cold, yet Lhasa, the capital, is not out of bounds for many. The average temperatures range between a cold 6.1°C (43°F) to mild 17.8°C (64°F) in Nanjing and Nanchang in the east. The precipitation reduces significantly by the second half of November, but a rain jacket is useful in the coastal areas. Weather in November »

Weather in December

December is the beginning of the cold winter in China with mostly clear skies. The average temperatures in Beijing, the capital in the north, are in the cold range of -6.7°C (19.9°F) to 3.3°C (37.9°F). The south is warm, with temperatures in Guangzhou in the 11.1°C (52°F) to 20.6°C (69.1°F) zone. Much of China receives negligible rainfall. Weather in December »


Weather forecast for your location

1. Click Locate me button
2. Allow the app to use your location
* you will be automatically redirected to the weather forecast for your location