Albania has a subtropical Mediterranean climate. Its topography is dominated by its mountains, hills, and coastline and the country’s geologic and climatic characteristics result in an extensive network of rivers and lakes. As such, the country’s mostly mountainous landscape is endowed with abundant water resources, diverse flora and fauna, and an extensive coastline on the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Average annual temperatures vary from 17.6ºC (in Saranda to the South) to 7ºC (in Vermosh in the North). Lowland areas are characterized by a stable mean temperature of 14ºC–16ºC. Maximum temperatures can reach up to 11.3ºC in mountain areas and 21.8ºC in lowland and coastal zones. The north, west and southwest regions in Albania experience the highest amounts of rainfall. Annual average rainfall is 1,430 mm; however, the spatial and seasonal distribution varies, with the majority of rainfall occurring during the winter months. The most humid areas are the Albanian Alps in the north (Koder Shengjergj with 2,935 mm and Boga with 2,883 mm of annual precipitation) and Kurveleshi in the south (Nivica with 2,204 mm of annual precipitation). The highest amount of precipitation is experienced in November and the lowest amounts during July to August. Snowfall occurs in the Albanian Alps, in the central and southern areas. Average snowfall depth in mountainous areas is 600–1,200 cm, with the highest snowfall reaching 2–3 m depth in Vermosh, Boga, Theth, Valbona, Curraj and Lure. In the West Plains lowlands to the southwestern coast, snow is rare.
- Albania has experienced an increase in mean annual temperature of 1ºC since the 1960s, with temperature increases observed to be higher in the summer months.
- Heat waves, across the eastern Mediterranean, are expected to increase in intensity, duration and frequency, possibly by as much as six-to-eight times, per year.
- Albania’s northern part of the coastal zone typically has lower temperatures in the winter season compared to the middle and southern zones, but summer temperatures are similar across all coastal regions.
- The number of cold waves has been observed to have decreased since 1960.
- Rapid urbanization and population increases have been observed to experience increasing Urban Heat Island (UHI) impacts during summer seasons and high-heat days.
- Precipitation in Albania has a high degree of intra-season variability, since the 1960s, a slight (but statistically insignificant) decrease in mean annual precipitation has been observed. Albania has received the majority of its precipitation in its western zones, and primarily in the northwest.
- The northern part of the coastal zone has experienced an increase in the number of rainy days per year. Overall, seasonal precipitation patterns reveal no significant change, although rainfall intensity has increased.
- Increased intensity of rainfall has an impact on flood events as well as the degree of maintenance and preparation of infrastructure that is required to manage flood waters.