Climate Change Overview

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. 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. Sri Lanka’s high temperatures, unique and complex hydrological regime, and exposure to extreme climate events make it highly vulnerable to climate change.