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Tibet Weather Guide

The Tibetan plateau is known as the Rooftop of the World; it has an average altitude of 4950m above sea level. Flanking the plateau are two massive mountain ranges – the Himalayas which run from south to west and are home to Mt. Everest the highest peak in the world and the Thanggula Mountain range which is north of Tibet and has alpine terrain with a dry continental climate. The mountain ranges catch the rain when it falls and so the plateau remains dry most of the time, with the exception of the southeast. The north is known for its high winds, low humidity and low-oxygen atmosphere with hard to predict fluctuating temperatures. The Tibetan plateau is exposed to cold air flowing in from the north and equatorial air masses from the south. In the north there can be extreme heat in summer and freezing cold in winter. The western part of Tibet sees only a little snow fall each year although temperatures are low and roads generally remain traversable. The bitterly cold wind sweeps relentlessly over the western region’s arid plains. In the eastern region of Tibet the Indian monsoon season can affect the weather.

So you can see that it is important to take into account where you are going in Tibet in order to really predict the weather. Because of the vast size of Tibet it is very hard to talk generally about “Tibet weather” as each region is different. Most of the region experiences frost for about half the year and the highest lakes can have ice covering them from October to March. If you really wanted to characterize all of Tibet’s weather you would have to say it has strong sunshine; a cold and dry climate with drastically varying temperatures from night to day.

Lhasa Weather
Of all the places you could go in Tibet Lhasa has the most comfortable weather as it is in a low elevation valley. Precipitation in Lhasa is relatively high compared to other places in Tibet.

 

Climate table of Tibet major cities in comparison
Place Name Average Annual Temperature (C°) Average Monthly Temperature Altitude
Lhasa 7.5 -2.2 3658
Tsedang/Samye 8.3 -0.7 3500
Gyantse 4.7 -5.1 4040
Shigatse 6.3 -3.8 3836
Damshong 1.3 -9.9 4200
Nakchu -1.9 13.9 4507
Tingri/Dingri 0.7 -11.3 4300
Nyintri (Baiyi) 8.6 -0.2 3000
Pomi 8.5 -0.2 2750
Chamdo 7.6 -2.5 3240

 

Monthly Average Temperatures for Tibetan Cities (C°)
Month 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Lhasa  -10-6.8 -6.9-6.2  -3-12  0.9-13.7  5.1-19.7  9.2-22.5  9.9-21.7  9.4-20.7  7.6-19.6  1.4-16.4 -5-11.6  -9-7.7
Tsedang  -18- -1  -16- -4  -13-2  -8-5 -3-11  3-15 5-16  2-14 1-12 -5-5 -10-2  -16-1
Shigatse  -13–5.7  -9.5- -8  -5.4-11  -o.7-15.5  3.4-19.5  7.6-22.1  8.7-19.6  8.1-19.6  5.8-18.7  -1.2-15  -8-10.7  -12-7
Nakchu  -18–1  -16- -4  -13-2  -8-5  -3-11  3-11  5-16  2-14  1-12  -5 -5  -10-2  -16-1
Nyintri  -3-11  -2-8  -1-12  3-15  5-19  10-21  13-22  14-24  12-23  11-19  8-17  -3-10
Shiquanhe  -16–2  -17- -3  -15- -1  -13-5  -5-14  -2-17  3-21  2-18  3-16  0-8  -13-1  -16- -1

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