Climate & Weather in China

Climate & Weather in China
From cold and snowy winters to hot summers, from dry seasons to wet monsoons China has diverse climate and weather due to its large geographical area.

With a large landmass and different geographical formations comes distinctive weather. The majority of China's climate is dominated with dry seasons and very wet monsoons so there is a stark contrast in temperature throughout the year. However, as China has very complex and extensive topography, climate does differ between regions.

The diverse climate of China can be described as being subarctic in the north and sub-tropical in the south. Monsoon winds dominate the climate and there are seasonal air-mass movements and winds which are dry in the winter but moist in the summer. Monsoons account for the majority of the rainfall throughout China. However, the differences in altitude, longitude, and latitude provide huge variations in both temperature and precipitation. Most of China does fall under the temperate climate belt but even then the climate in this belt is actually quite complex.

The northern-most province of China is Heilongjiang. This has a subarctic climate and is famous for its famous ice sculpture exhibitions. In fact, its capital city of Harbin is famous for its annual Ice and Snow World where thousands of ice sculptures are on display. On the other hand, Hainan Island is China's southern-most point and is famous as an idyllic tropical getaway. During the winter time, Heilongjiang Province often experiences temperatures below 0°C and can sometimes even drop as far as -30°C! In contrast, Guangdong Province in the south averages 10°C during the winter.

Fortunately, during the summer, the climate is considerably more even. In Heilongjiang Province, the average temperature in the peak of summer would exceed 20°C. In Guangdong Province, the peak of summer would be 28°C.

As a traveller, you would be advised not to travel during the monsoon season. One of the worst times to travel is also around November as the weather is described as being awful even by local Chinese people. As precipitation varies regionally even more so than temperature, it would be best to check the weather before you book a holiday. There are at least 5 typhoons per year along both the eastern and southern coasts of China. There are also tsunamis, damaging floods, and droughts.

Climate & Weather in China
When it comes to tropical beaches in Asia, China is not exactly top of mind for many tourists but Hainan Island attracts a variety of visitors looking for warmth and relaxation.

The Qinling Mountains in the south is famous for its abundant rainfall during the monsoons in the summer. However, those visiting the north and west may have trouble calculating whether it will rain heavily as precipitation becomes more uncertain the more north and west that one travels. However, the lowest annual rainfall in China is the north-west. There is no precipitation at all in the desert areas.

Those visiting the hot-summer/cold-zone will experience the transient climate between the cold zones of the north and the hot zones of the south. This hot-summer/cold-zone includes the provinces of Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hunan, Hubei, Gansu, Shanxi, Jiangsu, and Henan provinces. These also include the popular destinations of Shanghai and Chongqing. This area is 1.8 million sq km. This zone is famous for its hot and humid summers and cold yet humid winters. The temperature between day and night is relatively minimal compared to other areas of the country. The bad news is that there is a lot of rainfall during the year. However, the semi-good news is that radiation from the sun is weak because of cloud cover.

Those travelling to the hot-summer/cold-zone region have a better chance of picking a great time to visit, weather-wise. During the hottest summer month, the temperature is generally 25 to 30°C, but it can go above 40°C. During the coldest winter month, the weather is 0 to 10°C, with troughs below 0°C. Travellers staying with family or friends, as well exchange or international students to China should take note. For historical weather reasons, residential buildings are not weatherised – meaning they do not have HVAC systems nor do they have good insulation. Fortunately, many residents have installed mini-split air conditioners to improve living comfort.