Explore historical and projected climate data, climate data by sector, impacts, key vulnerabilities and what adaptation measures are being taken. Explore the overview for a general context of how climate change is affecting China.

Climate Data Historical

China’s climate varies dramatically according to a number of variables, including altitude, latitude, and distance from the coast. China’s annual cycle conceals considerable regional variation. Southern China experiences a tropical climate, with high temperatures and heavy rainfall particularly during the summer (May-September) while the mountainous regions of Southwestern China experience more moderate temperatures. Tibet and Inner Mongolia experience much harsher climates, with very cold winters and particularly strong winds for high-altitude regions. Central and eastern China experience fewer climate extremes but summers are known to be notably humid. The variability of climate (i.e. higher variability results in less predictability) has been shown to be greater in the north of China, compared to the South.


  • China’s NC3 reports that between 1901-2010 the average surface air temperature of mainland China increased by 0.98oC with a particular acceleration in warming since 1980.
  • As of 2010, China experienced warming at around 0.25oC per decade. Increases in the frequency of heat waves have also been documented, along with reductions in the frequency of extreme cold events, with particularly high temperatures recorded in the period 1990-2010.
  • Average temperature rises are strongest in the northern regions and weakest in the south. 


  • China’s NC3 reports that no statistically significant changes in annual average rainfall patterns were detected in China between 1960 and 2010.
  • Intra-annual changes however, were significant as Spring and Autumn precipitation rates declined 3.2 mm/ year and 3.6 mm/ year respectively, this was offset by increases in summer precipitation. 
  • Regionalized changes in precipitation have also been documented: annual average precipitation declined in North-eastern China between 1960 and 2010 while simultaneously increasing in Western, Central and Southern areas. 

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