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Tibet Climate and Weather Map

November,10 2016 BY Sonam Tenphel 0 COMMENTS

Perched on the soaring Qinghai-Tibet plateau, Tibet enjoys much praise and abuse for its mind-blowing alpine scenery and notorious plateau weather. In fact, the weather and climate of Tibet are largely shaped by its complex terrain and atmospheric circulation. Geographically, from its south to northwest, the climate zone of Tibet mainly consists of tropical montane humid monsoon climate, plateau temperate monsoon climate, and frigid plateau monsoon climate and subfrigid monsoon climate.

4 climate zones in tibet
Climate zones of Tibet

Major Features of Tibet Weather and Climate:

For the first-time traveler to Tibet, the following 4 features of Tibet weather and climate merit your attention.
a. Thin Air and Low Air Pressure
Due to the high altitude, many first-time travelers to Lhasa (3650m) will be both amazed at the high visibility of the plateau air and have some mild symptoms of altitude change, such as shortness of breath, and fast heartbeat, etc. However, there is no need to panic. A couple of days later, all these symptoms will disappear as your body acclimatizes to the high altitude. Meanwhile, you will also easily notice that the air is extremely clean with little moisture.

Travel Tips: it's highly recommended to bring a lip balm and drink more water on the plateau. Besides, most of travelers will suffer from different levels of high altitude sickness due to the thin air, read the details about how to ease the altitude sickness here

b. Ample Sunshine with Strong Solar Radiation
Tibet is known as the region with the strongest solar radiation in China. Thanks to the extreme altitude, the amount of solar radiation it gets normally exceeds more than twice or one third of the areas with same latitude. In Lhasa alone, the annual daytime has as long as 3021 hours, making it unequivocally “the City of Sunshine”.

lhasa weather and climate
Radiant sunshine in Lhasa

Travel Tips: for the strong radiation in Tibet, sunglasses, sunscreen and breathable sun hat are preferable to protect your eyes and skin from sunburn.

c. Dramatic Temperature Change between Day and Night
Another important feature of Tibet weather is the comparatively even annual temperature yet drastic temperature change from daytime to nighttime. As a result, the annual temperature (-3.4 ℃) of Tibet in winter (Dec, 2014- Feb, 2015) on average is not as cold as one expect while the annual temperature of summer (June – Aug, 2015) on average in Tibet is 13.1℃. Just as the proverb goes that hardly can one notice the obvious temperature change in 4 seasons in Tibet yet can clearly experience 4 seasons in one day.

d. Clear-cut Distincion between Dry and Rainy Season with Much Rainfall at Night
Normally, rainy season starts from April and May in Zayü County and Mêdog County, Nyingchi (eastern Tibet) and gradually moves westwards to Lhasa and Shigatse, etc. In July, the entire Tibet is taken control by rainy season. Most of the precipitation in Tibet occurs from May to Sept, accounting for 90 percent of annual rainfall. While from Oct to April next year, the total amount of rail only makes up 10% or 20% of annual precipitation. An interesting phenomenon is that occurrence of rain at night is much higher than daytime with the exception in Himalayan region and southeastern of Tibet.

Temperature and Climate of Tibet in Detail

Wind Speed of Different Regions in Tibet 

wind speed of tibet
Windspeed of different regions of Tibet

Hours of Daylight in Tibet

duration of sunshine in tibet
Hours of daylight in different regions of Tibet

Annual Tibet Temperature on Average

( based on temperature from Dec, 2014 to Nov, 2015)

Winter in Tibet(Dec, 2014-Feb, 2015): 3.4℃
Spring in Tibet (March-May, 2015): 1.5-12.6℃
Summer in Tibet (June-Aug, 2015): 13.1℃
Autumn in Tibet (Sept-Nov, 2015): 0.0-13.8℃

From the above Tibet temperature chart, you may easily understand the slight annual temperature change in Tibet.

Tibet Weather and Climate by Month

The following data gives you the rough idea of Tibet weather in 12 months.

monthly temperature of tibet on avereage
Average temperature of Tibet on monthly basis

Tibet Weather in Jan:
Average Minimum Temperature (℃): -10
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 7
Tibet Average Temperature(℃): -2
Average Precipitation/Rainfall(mm): 0
Wet Days(>0.1mm): 0
Relative Humidity(%):71

Tibet Weather in Feb:
Average Minimum Temperature (℃): -7
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 9
Tibet Average Temperature(℃): 1
Average Precipitation/Rainfall(mm): 13
Wet Days(>0.1mm): 1
Relative Humidity(%):71

Tibet Weather in March:
Average Minimum Temperature (℃): -2
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 12
Tibet Average Temperature(℃): 5
Average Precipitation/Rainfall(mm): 8
Wet Days(>0.1mm): 1
Relative Humidity(%):72

Tibet Weather in April:
Average Minimum Temperature (℃):1
Average Maximum Temperature (℃):16
Tibet Average Temperature(℃):8
Average Precipitation/Rainfall(mm):5
Wet Days(>0.1mm):1
Relative Humidity(%):67

Tibet Weather in May:
Average Minimum Temperature (℃):5
Average Maximum Temperature (℃):19
Tibet Average Temperature(℃):12
Average Precipitation/Rainfall(mm):25
Wet Days(>0.1mm):3
Relative Humidity(%):59

Tibet Weather in June:
Average Minimum Temperature (℃): 9
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 24
Tibet Average Temperature(℃): 17
Average Precipitation/Rainfall(mm): 63
Wet Days(>0.1mm): 8
Relative Humidity(%): 64

Tibet Weather in July:
Average Minimum Temperature (℃): 9
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 23
Tibet Average Temperature(℃): 16
Average Precipitation/Rainfall(mm): 122
Wet Days(>0.1mm): 13
Relative Humidity(%):71

Tibet Weather in August:
Average Minimum Temperature (℃): 9
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 22
Tibet Average Temperature(℃): 16
Average Precipitation/Rainfall(mm): 89
Wet Days(>0.1mm): 10
Relative Humidity(%):72

Tibet Weather in Sept:
Average Minimum Temperature (℃): 7
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 21
Tibet Average Temperature(℃): 14
Average Precipitation/Rainfall(mm): 66
Wet Days(>0.1mm): 7
Relative Humidity(%):71

Tibet Weather in Oct:
Average Minimum Temperature (℃): 1
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 17
Tibet Average Temperature(℃): 9
Average Precipitation/Rainfall(mm): 13
Wet Days(>0.1mm): 2
Relative Humidity(%):64

Tibet Weather in Nov:
Average Minimum Temperature (℃): -5
Average Maximum Temperature (℃): 13
Tibet Average Temperature(℃): 4
Average Precipitation/Rainfall(mm): 2
Wet Days(>0.1mm): <1
Relative Humidity(%):71

Tibet Weather in Dec:
Average Minimum Temperature (℃):-9
Average Maximum Temperature (℃):9
Tibet Average Temperature(℃):0
Average Precipitation/Rainfall(mm):0
Wet Days(>0.1mm):0
Relative Humidity(%):71

Tibet Weather and Climate in Major Attractions

With 1,228,400 square km, Tibet is blessed with second-to-none Himalayan scenery and profound Tibetan Buddhism and exotic culture and customs. Though there are 7 prefectures, most of the highlighted attractions are centered in Lhasa, Shigatse and Shannan and Ngari and Nyingchi. Let’s find out the best time to travel to these places.

Lhasa Weather and Major Attractions:
Situated in fertile Lhasa Valley, Lhasa (3650m) is the spiritual heart of Tibet. Its favorable geographical location breeds pleasing weather and climate all year round. And Lhasa tour will be the focus for many first-time travelers to Tibet. 

lhasa weather
Tour Jokhang Temple in Lhasa with brilliant sunshine

Spring: -2℃(min) 12℃(max)
Summer: 9℃(min) 22℃(max)
Autumn: 7℃(min) 19℃(max)
Winter: -7℃(min) 9℃(max)

Major Attractions in Lhasa :
Potala Palace ( most iconic place of Tibet)
Jokhang Temple (the spiritual heart of Lhasa)
Barkhor Street (join Barkhor Kora outside Jokhang Temple)
Sera Monastery (dramatic monk debate)
Drepung Monastery (biggest Gelugpa monastery in Tibet)
Ganden Monastery (enjoy best view of Lhasa Valley)
Namtso Lake (Heavenly lake view, one of top three sacred lakes in Tibet)

Shigatse Weather and Major Attractions:
Shigatse (3836m) is the second largest city in Tibet and also the best place to enjoy top 4 stunning mountains along Himalayan range, esp. the close observation of world’s summit Mount Everest (8844.43m) at Everest Base Camp(5200m). The best time to Everest Base Camp would be from Apr to May and from Sept to Nov.

everest weather
Enjoy the imposing view of Mt. Everest at Everest Base Camp

Spring: -11℃(min) 14℃(max)
Summer: 4℃(min) 24℃(max)
Autumn: 0℃(min) 21℃(max)
Winter: -13℃(min) 12℃(max)

Major Attractions in Shigatse :
Everest Base Camp: (headquarters for Mt. Everest climbing and observation)
Rongbuk Monastery: (world’s highest monastery)
Gama Valley: (Superb trekking route in eastern slope of Mt. Everest)
Tashilhunpo Monastery: (one of the six most sacred Buddhist temples in Tibet)
Sakya Monastery: (treasure house of Tibetan Buddhist scriptures and other literatures)
Palcho Monastery and Kumbum Stupa (religious compound with multiple sects and entrancing architectural styles)
Gyantse Fortress: (incredible fortress with a commanding view of Gyantse city)

Shannan Weather and Major Attractions:
Situated to the south of Mt. Gandisi and Nyanchen Tanglha range, Shannan(3600m) is the closest prefecture to Lhasa (about 2 h drives). For tourists who take flight to Lhasa, Gonggar International Airport in Shannan is where you will touch down. Since the main tributary of Yarlung Tsangpo River flows through Shannan, the fertile land and pastoral terrain in Shannan make it the cradle of Tibet civilization.

yamdrok shannan
Turquoise Yamdrok Lake in Shannan Prefecture

Spring: -6℃(min) 10℃(max)
Summer: 10℃(min) 22℃(max)
Autumn: 8℃(min) 20℃(max)
Winter: -7℃(min) 9℃(max)

Major Attractions in Shannan:
Yamdrok Lake (one of top three sacred lakes in Tibet)
Samye Monastery (first Tibetan monastery in Tibet)
Yumbulagang Palace(holy palace built 1st Tibetan king)
Yarlung Tsangpo Valley (idyllic scene of farmland, castles, monasteries, temples, etc)
Chim-puk Hermitage (impressive heritage retreat of Tibetan Buddhism, mostly nuns)

Ngari Weather and Major Attractions:
With an average altitude of above 4500m, Ngari is truly known as the “roof of the roof”. The highlight of Ngari tour would be its magnificent kora around holy Mount Kailash and sacred Manasarovar and exploration of lost ancient civilization “Guge Kingdom”. Ngari features plateau monsoon climate and gale is frequently seen from Nov to early May. The annual temperature on average is extremely low. The best travel season to Ngari would be from May to July and Sept. to Oct.

mount kailash kora
Holy kora around sacred Mount Kailash

Spring: -11℃(min) 12℃(max)
Summer: 24℃(min) 3℃(max)
Autumn: -5℃(min) 21℃(max)
Winter: -26℃(min) 6℃(max)

Major Attractions in Ngari:
Mt. Kailash (kora around holiest mountain in Asia)
Lake Manasarovar (one of top three sacred lakes in Tibet)
Ruins of the Guge Kingdom (grand reminder of ancient Tibetan civilization)
Tholing Monastery (oldest monastery built by king of Guge in Ngari)
Tsada Clay Forest ( awe-inspiring geographical wonders in western Tibet)
Pangong Tso Lake ( safe haven for wild birds)

Nyingchi Weather and Major Attractions:
Located in the southeast of Tibet, Nyingchi is the region with the lowest altitude (around 3000m) and massive pristine forest in Tibet. Nyingchi is characterized by tropical and humid subtropical climate. The natural scenery of Nyingchi is often compared to that of Switzerland. Actually, Nyingchi is suitable for travel all year around, esp from mid-March to late April when the annual peach blossom festival is held.

nyingchi peach blossom
Rosy peach blossom in enchanting Nyingchi

Spring: -3℃(min) 21 ℃(max)
Summer: 7℃(min)28℃(max)
Autumn: 7℃(min) 26℃(max)
Winter: -8℃(min) 15℃(max)

Major Attractions in Nyingchi:
Basum Tso Lake: (most well-known sacred lake of Nyingma sect)
Namjagbarwa Peak: (one of 10 most beautiful mountains in China)
Lulang Forest: (live botanical museum of Tibet)
Midui Glacier: (one of top 6 glaciers in China)
Huge Cypress Nature Reserve: (giant cypress forest in Nyingchi)
Cherry Blossom Festival (mid-March to late April)

For more information about Tibet tour, please contact our pro travel consultants for details

Sonam Tenphel

About the Author - Sonam Tenphel

Energetic, responsible and reliable, Sonam is a guide with more than seven years experience informing visitors about heritage sites and attractions places in Tibet.

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