Mongolia has a strongly continental climate, with four fluctuations of temperatures, low precipitation and marked regional variations depending on latitude and altitude. Average temperatures range between around -4°C and -8°C in and between mountain ranges climbing to around 2°C in the steppe desert region and around 6°C in the southern desert bordering China. Temperature varies dramatically throughout the year. Historically maximum temperatures have peaked at around 24°C in July, while January minimum temperatures drop to around -28°C. Annual precipitation rarely exceeds 400 mm and is typically much lower in the south and central desert and steppe regions. In the Gobi Desert, annual rainfall is only 40 mm. Nationally, an estimated 85% of precipitation falls between April and September. Small inter-annual variations in precipitation can lead to severe drought events, with some regions not experiencing rainfall at all.
- Very high rates of historical warming are reported; between 1940 and 2015 average temperatures rose by an average 2.24°C. This rise has been associated with a decline in frost days and an increase in hot summer days.
- Maximum temperatures have risen 2.6°C while minimum temperatures have risen only 0.3°C over the same period.
- A decline in average annual precipitation of 7% over the period 1940 – 2015 is reported. The country’s central regions have felt this decline in rainfall most strongly, including the proportionately large increase in winter snowfall.
- The number of consecutive wet days and the number of days with heavy precipitation are also believed to have declined over the period 1971-2015.