Climate and monthly weather forecast

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.

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.

Spring weather in China

Springtime in China is characterised by warming temperatures and increasing rainfall. It's a time when the country begins to shed its winter chills. The southern border regions with Burma and Vietnam experience heavy rain during this period. Average temperatures across the country range from 15°C (59°F) to 25°C (77°F), offering a pleasant environment for visitors. China's diverse topography provides a scenic backdrop during this season, with flora coming to life in vibrant hues, particularly in the verdant southern regions.

Summer weather in China

Summers in China are typically hot, with temperatures averaging from 25°C (77°F) to 40°C (104°F). The most torrid conditions are found in the northwest region, especially Turpan, which can reach up to 40°C (104°F) in July. The summer months also correspond to the monsoon season, during which the southeast receives the heaviest rainfall, in excess of 1524mm (60") annually. Coastal regions, while maintaining a temperate climate, often face the fury of typhoons. Despite these challenging conditions, the mountainous areas in the south, particularly in the Yunnan province, remain relatively warm and inviting.

Autumn weather in China

Autumn in China is marked by falling temperatures and diminishing rainfall. It offers a respite from the intense heat of summer, with temperatures gradually declining from 25°C (77°F) to 15°C (59°F) throughout the season. September often serves as a transitional month, witnessing relatively moderate conditions across the country. Precipitation also drops during this period, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities. The northern regions experience more sunlight during autumn, providing longer daylight hours for explorations.

Winter weather in China

China's winter is distinctly cold, especially in the northern and central regions, where January temperatures can dip to 0°C (32°F) or even -10°C (14°F). The northwest is particularly severe, with freezing temperatures that can plunge further. On the other hand, the southern and coastal areas enjoy milder winters. Even during this season, snowfall is rare in the lower plateaus and the southern half of the country, but the high mountain peaks receive a significant amount of snow, rendering them picturesque yet challenging for travel.

Weather in January

January in China brings the chill of winter to most regions, particularly in the northern and central areas. In these regions, temperatures commonly fall to 0°C (32°F), with some areas plunging even lower to a frigid -10°C (14°F). Weather in January »

Weather in February

In China, February signifies the transition from the heart of winter towards the arrival of spring. This transition, however, is not uniformly experienced across the country due to its diverse topography and large geographical expanse. Northern and central regions of China continue to face cold conditions in February, although temperatures begin to rise slightly compared to January. Weather in February »

Weather in March

As China transitions into spring, the weather in March sees a marked change across the country. The rise in temperatures becomes more noticeable, particularly in the northern and central regions, marking the end of the winter's chill. The capital, Beijing, which experiences temperatures from -2°C (28.4°F) to -8°C (17.6°F) in February, sees a considerable rise in March. Weather in March »

Weather in April

April in China signifies the full arrival of spring, marked by increasing temperatures and progressively heavier rainfall, particularly in the southeastern parts of the country. In the northern regions, the increase in temperatures continues from March. Weather in April »

Weather in May

With the arrival of May, China witnesses the spring season's climax, preparing for the imminent arrival of summer. Temperatures continue their upward trend across the country, with the precipitation pattern revealing a complex picture due to the influence of the monsoonal rains. In the northern regions, including Beijing, May ushers in a substantial increase in temperature. Weather in May »

Weather in June

June is a transitional month in China, marking the official commencement of summer and a period of significant rainfall due to the monsoon season. In the north, the temperatures continue their upward climb. In Beijing, the thermometer typically reads between 19°C (66.2°F) and 30°C (86°F), with the heat further intensifying towards the month's end. Weather in June »

Weather in July

In July, China is firmly in the grip of summer, with temperatures reaching their peak and monsoonal rains heavily influencing the country's weather patterns. In northern cities such as Beijing, July is typically the hottest month of the year, with temperatures oscillating between 22°C (71.6°F) and 31°C (87.8°F). Weather in July »

Weather in August

As August unfolds in China, the high summer temperatures persist, though there are signs of a gradual cooling towards the end of the month. The influence of the monsoonal rains also starts to wane, though precipitation remains substantial in several regions. Northern regions, such as Beijing, still experience intense summer heat during August, with temperatures fluctuating between 21°C (69.8°F) and 30°C (86°F). Weather in August »

Weather in September

September brings noticeable changes to China's weather patterns. As the country transitions into autumn, temperatures begin to fall, and the monsoonal rains gradually decrease, making it one of the most pleasant months to visit. In northern regions like Beijing, the harsh summer heat starts to fade, replaced by milder temperatures ranging from 15°C (59°F) to 26°C (78.8°F). Weather in September »

Weather in October

October in China represents the full arrival of autumn, characterised by decreasing temperatures and diminishing rainfall. As the season unfolds, the country experiences cooler and drier weather, marking a significant transition from the hot and rainy summer months. In the northern region, including Beijing, temperatures cool considerably compared to September, ranging from 8°C (46.4°F) to 19°C (66.2°F). Weather in October »

Weather in November

November in China marks a further deepening of autumn, with the onset of colder temperatures across the country. It also signals the start of the dry season, creating a crisp and clear atmosphere that is particularly noticeable in the northern regions. In the northern cities like Beijing, the temperature drops significantly, ranging from 0°C (32°F) to 10°C (50°F), marking a stark departure from the warmer months. Weather in November »

Weather in December

December in China marks the transition into winter, with a distinct drop in temperatures nationwide. Rainfall levels continue to decrease, resulting in dry conditions, while northern and high-altitude regions begin to experience the onset of snow. Northern China, including Beijing, plunges into the chill of winter, with temperatures ranging from -6°C (21.2°F) to 4°C (39.2°F). Weather in December »


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