Climate in China

Given China’s size and its varied landscape there is no one time in the year when weather is ideal in every part of China.

The warmest areas in winter are to be found in the South and Southwest, such as Xishuangbanna in Yunnan, and Hainan Island. In summer the coolest spots are in the far northeast.

China has a climate mainly dominated by dry seasons and wet monsoons, which leads to temperature differences in winter and summer.

In winter, northern winds coming from high latitude areas are cold and dry; in summer, southern winds from sea areas at lower latitude are warm and moist.

The climate in China differs from region to region because of the country's extensive and complex topography.

In the south of the Nanling Mountains, for example, rains are abundant and the temperature is high all year round. In the Yangtze and Huaihe river valleys, in the central part of China, there are four distinctive seasons.

In northeast China, summers are short but there is quite a lot of sunshine, whereas the winters are long and cold. Precipitation is limited in northwest China where it is cold in winter and hot in summer.

Instead southwest China, of low latitudes, the land is elevated high, and has characteristically vertical seasonal zones. The Yangtze River serves as China's official dividing line between north and south.


Northern winters, from December to March, are extremely cold. Beijing may experience temperature of -20C (-4F) at night with dry air and little sun. Further north finding -40C (Mongolia region) on the thermometer is not uncommon.

A curious sight of sand dunes covered in snow can be encountered. During the summer, from May to August, temperatures in Beijing can hit 38C (100F), coinciding with the rainy season for the city.

The best time for visiting the north is spring and autumn. Daytime temperatures range from 20C to 30C (68F to 86F) and drop a lot at night. Precipitation is more or less 6370cm (25-28 inches) per year.


The Yangtze River valley has long humid summers with high temperatures from April to October. The city of Wuhan, Chongqing and Nanjing on the Yangtze are known as China's three famous 'furnaces'.

Winters there are quite, with temperatures dropping well below the freezing temperature. In fact it can be as cold as Beijing, particularly as there is a lack of heating in public buildings to the south of the Yangtze River.

It can also be wet and quite unpleasant on most seasons apart from summer time.

Since it is impossible to choose an ideal time to visit, spring and autumn are probably best. Precipitation averages around 76 cm (30 inches) per year.


Near Guangzhou, summer is a season of typhoons especially between the months of July and September.

Temperatures can rise to around 38C (100F). Winters are short, between January and March. It's not as cold as in the north, but if visiting bring warm clothes with you while visiting.

Autumn and spring can be the best times to visit, with day temperatures in the 20C to 25C (68F to 75F) range. Sometimes, it can be wet and cold, with rain or drizzle. Precipitation averages 76 cm (30 inches) per year.

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