Mongolia is located in the center of Eurasia surrounded by high mountain ranges. This makes its climate rather extreme because it is elevated at an average altitude of 1500 meters above sea level. This, coupled with being landlocked and not close to any seas or oceans, results in temperature and precipitation rates being very diverse in all four seasons of the year, which showcases the differences of altitude and latitude zones clearly. Mongolia has a short (May to August) and dry summer, but long (November to April) and cold winter. The duration of spring and fall seem to differ in a wide range year to year.
The average yearly temperature of Mongolia is 0.2°С (32°F). This translates to the extremes between the winter average of -10° to -30°(14°…22°F) and summer between 10° to 27°C (50°…80°F). Mongolian geography consists of mountainous areas, steppes, and desert. The average yearly temperature in the mountainous areas such as Altai (west), Khangai (central), Khan-Khentii (east), Khuvsgul (north) is –4°С (24.8°F), and is 2°С (35.6°F) in the steppes, and is 6°С (42.8°F) in the southern Gobi desert. The lowest temperature recorded in winter is -28°С--54°С (-18.4°...-65.2°F) whereas the highest recorded in summer is 30°С- 45°С (86°…113°F).
Generally speaking the precipitation in Mongolia is very low. The amount of precipitation per year varies in different regions of Mongolia, in relation to the location and elevation of the mountain ranges. For example, the precipitation rate per year in the mountainous areas of Khangai (central), Khuvsgul (north), Khentii (east) is 250-390 mm, and 90-130 mm in the Altai mountain ranges, and 180-280 mm in the steppes, and 70-150 mm in the Gobi desert. Sometimes the precipitation rate per year could get as low as 40-60 mm by the border with China.
Sun and Cloudiness
Mongolia has few cloudy days, in fact, it is sunny on 230-260 days or 2600-3300 hours of the year.
Mongolian weather in brief
Summer in Mongolia (June- August) is the best time to enjoy outdoor activities. Notable festivals held in summer are the Naadam and the yak festival. All tourist camps, guesthouses, local restaurants are open. It rains more in the summer.
Fall lasts through September-November. The early stage of fall, around September and October can be nice and warm around 17 degrees, and the latter can be colder. Best places to visit in fall are the mountainous areas in the north and central Mongolia because of the colorful scenes of the forests. Interesting events such as the Golden Eagle festival and Winter horse festival are organized in October and November, respectively.
Winter starts in December and ends in February in Mongolia. It could get as cold as -50 in the north, -40 in the west and central, -30 in other regions, but average -17-25C. It snows in all parts of Mongolia, making the surrounding such magical in white. Best things to do in winter: visit a nomad family, do a dog sledding trip, experience Mongolian lunar new year, visit the Tsaatan tribe in the north Mongolia.
Spring comes in March and leaves in May. It is the time where the snow melts, especially the ones in the mountains which can cause some flood. It is often windy and dusty around this time. We say you will experience all four season in one spring day. Because the weather is hard to predict; it could be sunny in the morning, raining during the day, snowing at night. It is especially windy in the southern region. Spring is packed with lots of fun activities such as the Spring Eagle festival, the Thousand Camel festival, and the Ice festival which are all held in the first week of March.