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Tibet Climate

The topography and geographical location of Tibet and its great altitude create peculiar climate of Tibet. Generally speaking, the climate is rather harsh, with thin air, insufficient oxygen, intense sunlight and ultraviolet radiation. However, it is not impossible to visit this holy land. In summer it tends to be very cool, though in winter it is not as cold as people imagine due to the intense sunlight. Temperature extremes occur during both day and night due to the thin atmosphere being unable to either absorb or retain heat.
 
Tibet has a distinct rainy season and dry season, with the rainfall being very unbalanced. In spring and winter it tends to be dry and windy. During the rainy season, which runs from June to September, the rainfall reaches 90 percent of all annual precipitation. In southern and central Tibet, it always rains heavily at night, while in northern Tibet, thunder and hailstorms frequently occur. During this season, the heavy rainfall can often brings about serious traffic problems, with roads becoming blocked due to frequent landslides.

Northern Tibet has an altitude of over 4,500 meters (14,764 feet) and its winter lasts from October through to May or even June, and is both dry and bitterly cold with an average temperature below zero. The best time to visit this region is during July and August, when visitors can enjoy fresh air, warm temperature, vast green grassland, as well as the snow-capped peaks.

Valleys and vast forest, with a humid subtropical monsoon climate, primarily occupy the southeast of Tibet. This place is a favorable summer resort due to its pleasant climate and exquisite scenery. The best time to visit this area is between May and October, when visitors can best enjoy its virgin forest, monumental canyons, holy mountains and lakes, local festive events as well as the fragrant flowers and fruits found in this region.

Central Tibet is also a good summer resort, with the best tourism season between June and September. This region is a holy land with many great Buddhist monasteries. The geothermal springs here are well renowned for their remedial abilities to cure many skin diseases. This area is also a heaven for shutterbugs during this period because of its clear air and blue sky.

The southernmost area of Tibet, with its lowest temperature being minus 34 degrees C (minus 29 degrees F), is the site where the hotspot of mountaineering exploration in the Himalayas is located. It is a must for mountain climbing enthusiasts in spite of the harsh condition.

Lastly, remember that the intense ultraviolet radiation is a big challenge to traveling in Tibet. Visitors had better be well prepared with sunglasses, hat and sun-blocking cosmetics. In addition, it is a good choice to take some medicine for many visitors will feel sick due to high altitude and insufficient oxygen.

Renowned as the "sunshine city", Lhasa enjoys an astounding annual sunshine time of 3,000 hours. The most comfortable seasons to visit Lhasa are in summer and fall. The city is also unique for its "night rain" and sunshine during the day. Lhasa is about 3658m / 12001 feet above sea level.

Average Maximum Temperature of Lhasa

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
7.2 9.1 12.2 15.8 19.9 23.3 22.4 21.2 20.1 16.7 11.9 8.2 15.6
45.0 48.4 54.0 60.4 67.8 73.9 72.3 70.2 68.2 62.1 53.4 46.8 60.1

Average Minimum Temperature of Lhasa

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
-9.6 -6.5 -2.6 1.1 5.3 9.7 10.3 9.6 7.8 1.7 -4.8 -8.8 1.0
14.7 20.3 27.3 34.0 41.5 49.5 50.5 49.3 46.0 35.1 23.4 16.2 33.8

24-hr Average Temperature of Lhasa

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
-1.2 1.3 4.7 8.5 12.6 16.5 16.3 15.5 14.0 9.2 3.6 -0.2 8.3
29.8 34.3 40.5 47.3 54.7 61.7 61.3 59.9 57.2 48.6 38.5 31.6 46.9

Average Rainfall of Lhasa

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
mm 0.3 2.5 3.5 5.8 23.7 71.8 132.1 127.5 58.0 8.9 1.4 0.5 432.6
inches 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.9 2.8 5.2 5.0 2.3 0.4 0.1 0.0 17.0

Average Sea-Level Pressure of Lhasa

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
millibars 649.6 648.5 650.3 651.6 651.3 651.0 652.3 653.5 654.5 654.5 653.8 652.4 652.0

Best Travel Time to Some Famous Areas in Tibet:

Lhasa /Shigatse /Lhatse /Tingri /Nyalan: Along the Friendship highway is basically in good conditions year around. But from December to February, the thawed road could make some trouble. Try to avoid August - landslide could happen in the rainy season.

Mt. Everest Base Camps Area: Early May and early October are the best time to visit Mt. Everest Base Camps. Due to the clear weather, you have great chance to see Mt. Everest Base Camps's true face (if you are lucky). From December to February, you'd better not to go to this area because it is too cold - except you are real Great Adventure People.

Ali (Mt.Kailash): Even without climate restrictions, this area is already inhospitable. Big rain and snow could make the journey worse. However, for those determined tourists, the appropriate time is May, June, July, September and October.

Eastern Tibet: Don't go to this area in July or August (the rainy season) because the rain could ruin the road, and make terrible landslides. In winter, the road could be frozen.

Northern Tibet: With the average altitude of 4,500m, this area offers very limited time for tourists. Summer (July to August) is the prime time to enjoy the great plain in northern Tibet.