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Climate of China

Sunil Tanna

China has a climate that varies greatly between the country's different regions. In coastal areas, the climate can broadly be divided into northern, central and southern zones:

- The northern zone (which includes the capital Beijing) experiences hot summers, and extremely cold and harsh (almost Arctic) Winters.

- The central zone (which includes the city of Shanghai) experiences a temperate continental climate: hot Summers and cold Winters.

- The southern zone (which includes the city of Guangzhou) has a subtropical climate, with very hot Summers and mild Winters.

Other regions with their own climate include:

- The Gobi desert, which experiences little rain due to the rain shadow effect of the Himalaya mountain range. While known as a "cold desert", and even though it's not at all unusual to see snow on the dunes of the Gobi, the climate actually varies greatly throughout the year. In Winter, chilled by cold winds from Siberia, temperatures often fall to -40°C (-40°F) in Winter, but in Summer, the temperature can rise to +50°C (122°F).

- The Tibetan plateau, due to its high elevation has very thin air, and thus heat is not retained at ground-level. As a result, even though day time temperatures can be warm in places - 28°C (82°F) - the temperature rapidly drops below zero at night. Northern regions of Tibet tend to be colder all year round, and have little seasonal variation, whereas in southern parts are warmer with more pronounced seasons, and may experience rain between April and September. Visitors to Tibet should be aware that because of the thin air, the sun is more powerful than it might seem, and take appropriate precautions - the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, is known as "sunlight city" for a reason.

By S. Tanna. First published at

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