Armenia’s climate can be described as highland continental, with large variation between summer highs (June to August) and winter lows (December to February). The country also experiences large climatic contrasts because of its intricate terrain, and the climates range from arid to sub-tropical and to cold, high mountains. Summer highs in Armenia’s capital Yerevan average around 30ºC−33ºC while the average in winter is 1ºC−3ºC. The more mountainous regions experience lower average temperatures and prolonged periods of snow cover. The average annual precipitation is low at 526 millimeters (mm). Precipitation intensity is greater in Armenia’s high-altitude regions with May and June the wettest months. For Armenia, altitude is the strongest controlling factor determining the spatial distribution of temperatures and precipitation. Sub-zero average temperatures are common in Armenia’s mountain ranges while its highest average temperatures are experienced in the relatively low-lying western plains. Similarly, Armenia’s highest peaks may receive up to 1,000 mm of annual precipitation while precipitation can be as low as 200 mm in the western plains.
- Armenia’s Fourth National Communication (NC4) reports that it experienced an average temperature rise of 1.23ºC between 1929–2016.
- This historical rise in temperatures has resulted in the rapid shrinking of the glaciers in Armenia’s mountain regions, with spatial extents retreating at around 8 m per year.
- Trends suggest climate variability is increasing and in 2018, Yerevan experienced a new record July temperature, reaching 42ºC.
- Armenia’s NC4 reported a 10% reduction in average annual precipitation volume, which was documented over the period 1935–2012.
- The spatial distribution of precipitation changes is irregular: the northeast and central regions have become more arid. However, precipitation has increased in the southern and northwestern regions and in the western region of the Lake Sevan Basin.
- The number of days with heavy rainfall and hailstorms has increased.