China is one of the largest nations on the planet and its size means that the country is characterized by multiple types of climate. The climate of China is extremely varied due to the huge differences in latitude, longitude and altitude.
The Chinese climate differs from region to region due to the country’s complex topography. Monsoon winds dominate the climate. They are caused by differences in the heat absorption capacity between the continent and the ocean. The advancement and retreat of monsoons causes to a large extent the times of the rainy season across the country. Although most of the country is located in the temperate climate zone, the Chinese climate is very complex.
The Chinese climate is dominated by monsoons which generally influence the seasons. The monsoons in fact bring copious rains in certain periods and at other times more or less short periods of drought. In winter, the Siberian anticyclone dominates China and the northern winds from Siberia bring cold and low rainfall. While in summer the eastern monsoon carries warm and humid air from the southern coastal areas and causes most of the annual rainfall in most of China. In large parts of the country during the year there are marked differences in temperature between winter and summer.
A LARGE COUNTRY WITH A MULTITUDE OF CLIMATES
In southeastern China, the climate is humid sub-tropical. This climate is characterized by long, hot summers with heavy rains. The winters are short, mild and not very rainy.
In the southern end of the country, particularly on the island of Hainan, the climate is humid tropical with high temperatures and rainfall well distributed throughout the year. Here there are no winters and there is also no dry season.
In the highlands of Tibet, the climate is cold of an alpine type but varies considerably according to altitude and exposure to prevailing winds. In some areas along the border between Tibet and Xinjiang the climate is desertic. Here are long hot summers and short cold winters.
In north-western China the climate is semi-arid, with short and hot summers and long and cold winters, the rains are rather scarce. Along the Huang He (Yellow River) valley, in the Beijing area and in part of Manchuria, the climate is humid continental with short, mild and rainy summers, and long, cold and snowy winters. In the far north of China the climate becomes sub-arctic with short and cold summers and long and harsh winters.
Precipitation is generally concentrated in the warmer months. The rainiest regions are the southeastern ones. That is, Guangdong, Jiangxi, Fujian, Guangxi, Hunan, Zhejiang and the island of Hainan. In these areas, between 1,500 and 2,000 mm of rain fall annually.
In the western extremity of China, in Xinjiang, on the other hand, the rains reach the lowest values in all of China, with annual averages even lower than 50 mm.
WHEN TO GO TO CHINA
Due to its vastness and the climatic difference between the various areas of the country it is difficult to identify a time of year when the climate is good in every area of the country. However, we can say that the intermediate seasons, spring and autumn, are the best for a visit in most regions of the country. Both spring, which includes the months between April and May, and autumn, that is, the months between September and October, have a mild climate and relatively little rainfall over most of the country.
Winter – from November to February – is particularly harsh especially in the north of the country and in the Tibetan highlands. But even in much of the rest of central China, winter temperatures are low. While the summer, between June and August, it is very hot and humid throughout China. The heat and rains are particularly high especially in southern China. In general, therefore, we can say that the best months for a trip to China are between April and May or between September and October, these periods generally offer good weather throughout the country.
CLIMATE OF CHINA: A COUNTRY SUITABLE FOR ALL SEASONS
However, there are some areas of China that lend themselves to being visited at other times of the year. The winter months – between November and February – are a good time to visit the south of the country especially the island of Hainan, and the regions of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao. In these regions the temperatures remain fairly mild even during the winter and in the winter months the rains are scarce.
The month of November is the ideal time to visit the national parks of the Sichuan region, in this period the leaves of the trees change color assuming spectacular colors of yellow, green and red, which in contrast with the turquoise color of the lakes and the white of the snowy mountains in the background make postcard landscapes.
The best months for a visit to Yunnan – the region bordering Burma, Laos and Vietnam – are between February and April, but those from November to January are also not bad. In the summer months – which are the rainiest months in most of China – the areas of greatest interest are Tibet, Xinjiang, northern Yunnan, Sichuan and Qinghai. In this period the rains are abundant, but also because of the rains nature offers the best of itself by making the splendid natural landscapes of these regions green.
The climate of Hong Kong.
The climate of Shanghai.
The climate of Yunnan.
Official Chinese weather page.
This post is also available in: German