Climate Change Overview

Country Summary

This page presents high-level information for Lao PDR'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 Lao PDR's country context and climate is provided following the visualizations.

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, located between latitudes 14° and 23°N and longitudes 100° and 108°E. The nation, which shares borders with five other countries, lies in the lower Mekong Basin of the Indochina Peninsula. The country stretches 1,700 km from north to south and 100 km to 400 km from east to west, with a total surface area of 236,800 km2. Approximately 80% of the country's land area is mountainous. The remaining 20% is low lying plains along the Mekong River and threatened by annual floods. The altitude ranges from 104 m above sea level in Attapeu to 2,820 m in Xiengkhuang, at Phoubia Mountain. Laos population reached 7.5 million in (2020). More than two-thirds of the population lives in the southern and central parts of the country. 

Lao PDR is endowed with abundant natural resources, such as water, forests, minerals and biodiversity. Relative to other Asian nations, many of these assets remain in a comparatively healthy state. However, since the turn of the 21st century, exploitation of natural resources has accelerated, including construction of a cascade of new hydropower dams on the Mekong River and its tributaries. Lao PDR’s topography and landlocked location makes the country heavily dependent on road transportation for trade and economic growth. The country’s East-West and North-South economic corridors connect Lao PDR with its Southeast and East Asian neighbors.

Flood and drought events occur frequently in Lao PDR. Poverty and malnutrition remain prevalent and with such a large proportion of Lao PDR’s population relying on agricultural activities as the primary source of livelihood, climate change is likely to impact on the country and its inhabitants strongly. The impacts of climate change are identified as being particularly important to the country’s water and forestry resources, agriculture, energy, and health sectors.