General Features of Tibet Climate
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General Features of Tibet Climate

Update: Jan. 18th, 2013

Snow-capped Mountain in Tibet

Tibet Autonomous Region covers a total area of 1.2 million square kilometers with an average altitude of higher than 4000 meters. Noted as "the roof of the world" Tibet is the main part of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The special geographical environment on this plateau forms a complicated climate. Tibet Tour would like to make a brief introduction of the general features of Tibet Plateau for tourists planning a Tibet tour.

General Features of Tibet Climate – Strong Solar Radiation & Long Sunshine Duration

Tibet enjoys the strongest solar radiation for its high altitude. The annual solar radiation of Lhasa reaches 195 kilocalories per square millimeter and that is two times of the other regions at the same latitude, such as Chengdu. Lhasa is widely regarded as Sunshine City for its pretty long sunshine duration. The annual sunshine duration of Lhasa even reaches 3005 hours. The strong solar radiation and long sunshine duration on Tibet Plateau is greatly due to the clean and thin air with low moisture content. The sunshine loses little energy while penetrating the atmosphere.

General Features of Tibet Climate – Low Air Pressure & Less Air Density

It is widely known that the air pressure decreases with the rising of the altitude. Hence, the air pressure on Tibet Plateau is pretty low due to its pretty high altitude. The air column here produces small pressure for it is shorter than that of the surrounding regions. The air pressure on Tibet Plateau is much lower than the plain areas. It is measured that the air pressure in Nyingchi Prefecture, Lhasa, Nagqu, Anduo is only about 71 percent, 66 percent, 62 percent and 60 percent of the air pressure on the plains with lower altitude. The air density is proportional to the air pressure in the same temperature environment. The air density on Tibet Plateau is only about 75-80 percent of the air density of the plain area and the oxygen content is 25-30 percent lower compared to the plain area.

General Features of Tibet Climate – Distinctive Rainy Season and Wind Season

The period between June and September is regarded as the rainy season in Tibet. The amount of precipitation during that period takes about 90 percent of the total annual precipitation. There is obvious difference between the amounts of precipitations in different regions on Tibet Plateau. The annual precipitation of Lhasa is about 454 millimeters while Gaer County only enjoys an annual precipitation of 60 millimeters without any distinctive rainy season. The moderate rain and heavy rain happen frequently during the rainy season. The night rainfall happens frequently in Qamdo, Lhasa and Shigatse areas.

The period between November and May is the wind season for most of the regions on Tibet Plateau, except for the Southeastern Tibet. The wind force is much stronger between February and March. Gaize is the gale center on Tibet Plateau and it has about 200 days with at least 8-class gale. The distinctive rainy season and wind season on Tibet Plateau is closely related to the seasonal variation of the general atmospheric circulation.

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