Climate Change Overview

Country Summary

This page presents high-level information for Afghanistan's climate zones and its seasonal cycle for mean temperature and precipitation for the latest climatology, 1991-2020. Climate zone classifications are derived from the Köppen-Geiger climate classification system, which divides climates into five main climate groups divided based on seasonal precipitation and temperature patterns. The five main groups are A (tropical), B (dry), C (temperate), D (continental), and E (polar). All climates except for those in the E group are assigned a seasonal precipitation sub-group (second letter).  Climate classifications are identified by hovering your mouse over the legend. A narrative overview of Afghanistan's country context and climate is provided following the visualizations.

Afghanistan is a landlocked nation at the juncture of the Central, West, and South Asian regions. Afghanistan’s land surface includes considerable mountain cover, the Hindu Kush, with peaks as high as 7,000 meters (m). At lower altitudes are large expanses of arid steppe and a significant desert region found in the southwestern plateau. Though lacking in vegetation, these drier areas of the country nonetheless support biodiverse ecosystems and unique landscapes. Afghanistan’s communities are ethnically and culturally diverse, and generally less urbanized. As a result of long-running conflict and political turmoil, Afghanistan’s population is among the world’s most deprived, with a national poverty rate exceeding 50% in 2017, and the population also faces very significant issues with undernourishment. Afghanistan has high unemployment and relies heavily on the agricultural sector, which constituted around 42.5% of employment in 2019 and 25.8% of gross domestic product (GDP).

The country’s vulnerability is recognized by Afghanistan’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) submitted in 2016. Not only does the document highlight the nation’s very modest contribution to the causes of climate change, but also the significant deficit in financial resources available to adapt to the diverse hazards already beginning to manifest as a result of human-induced climate change. Afghanistan’s Second National Communication to the UNFCCC (NC2) highlights the country’s commitment to increase its adaptation capabilities for the key sectors of agriculture, human health, energy and infrastructure as well as increase the population’s overall awareness about climate change.