Climate Change Overview

Country Summary

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

Mongolia is a landlocked country in East Asia, characterized by unique ecosystems and cultures. Mongolia’s vast steppe plains and deserts experience approximately 250 sunny days every year, leading to the country commonly being termed ‘the land of the blue sky’. Mongolia has a very low population density, with many of its communities traditionally nomadic pastoralists. The estimated population is about 3.3 million people (2020). Recent years have seen rapid urbanization, with 68.5% (2019) of the country’s population living in the Ulaanbaatar. This transition in lifestyles and livelihoods has presented many challenges. The contribution of agriculture to Mongolia’s economy has declined in recent years, constituting 12% of GDP, compared to the 50% contribution from the service sector. Agriculture and particularly livestock herding remain important employers and sources of subsistence for a large proportion of the population, but also represent a vulnerability.

The impacts associated with the climate-related disaster, locally termed dzud (recognized when a strong winter follows a dry summer) can be severe, resulting in the loss of millions of livestock as in 2009–10. Mongolia’s geographic location, extreme weather and fragile ecosystems, coupled with prominent pastoral livestock and rain-fed agriculture sectors, make Mongolia’s economy, livelihood and traditional cultures highly vulnerable to climate change risks. Historical climate warming is believed to have taken place at some of the fastest rates in the world in Mongolia and other shifts in climate dynamics are already strongly impacting on lives and livelihoods. In 2016 Mongolia ratified the Paris Climate Agreement, in 2018 released its Third National Communication to the UNFCCC and in adopted its Updated Nationally Determined Contributions in 2020. Key national policy documents include the National Action Plan on Climate Change (2011–2021) and the Green Development Policy (2014–2030).