Sri Lanka

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 Sri Lanka.

Country Summary

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

Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification, 1991-2020
  • Af
  • Am
  • As/Aw
  • BWh
  • BWk
  • BSh
  • BSk
  • Csa
  • Csb
  • Csc
  • Cwa
  • Cwb
  • Cwc
  • Cfa
  • Cfb
  • Cfc
  • Dsa
  • Dsb
  • Dsc
  • Dsd
  • Dwa
  • Dwb
  • Dwc
  • Dwd
  • Dfa
  • Dfb
  • Dfc
  • Dfd
  • ET
  • EF

Sri Lanka is a small island nation lying between 6°N and 10°N latitude and 80°E and 82°E longitude in the Indian Ocean, with a land area of approximately 65,000 square kilometers (km2). The island consists of a mountainous area in the south-central region and a surrounding coastal plain. The climate of Sri Lanka is wet and warm, ideal for forest growth; almost all of the nation’s land area was at one time covered with forests. Over the last century, more than two-thirds of this forest cover, rich in biodiversity, has been removed to accommodate human use. Nonetheless, rich natural resources remain and, alongside its vibrant cultures, contribute to the nation’s successful tourism industry. The economy of Sri Lanka is dominated by the service sector (58.2% of Gross Domestic Product [GDP] as of 2019), with major contributions from trade, transportation, and real estate activities. While the agricultural sector has shrunk in its contribution to GDP (7.4% as of 2019), it remains a significant employer (25% of the labor force as of 2019). Approximately a quarter of Sri Lanka’s population are believed to live within the metropolitan area of its commercial capital, Colombo. However, official statistics suggest Sri Lanka’s urban population is relatively low, reportedly 18.6% in 2019. A large proportion of Sri Lanka’s population remains undernourished (22.1% in 2014–2016). 

Sri Lanka’s high temperatures, unique and complex hydrological regime, and exposure to extreme climate events make it highly vulnerable to climate change. In 2012, the Ministry of Environment submitted its Second National Communication to the UNFCCC (NC2), which highlights key vulnerabilities in the agriculture and water resources sectors, as well as significant risks to human health and in coastal zones. These key climate-related risks were again emphasized in Sri Lanka’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) submitted after it signed and ratified the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016. Sri Lanka’s NDC outlines the country’s commitment to addressing its vulnerability to climate change in line with its commitments to a low carbon pathway through sustainable development efforts. At the time of writing, Sri Lanka’s NDC was under review.