The annual average precipitation in China is 629 millimeters, but its distribution is uneven and decreases gradually from coastal areas in the southeast to inland areas in the northwest.
The monsoon climate throughout the country produces variable seasonal precipitation. The directions of monsoons in winter and summer are different. From November to April, the dry and cold winter monsoons blow from the Siberia and Mongolian Plateau to China, resulting in cold and dry winters in north China. From May to October, the warm and humid summer monsoons from the seas in the east and south meet the cold air from the north, resulting in plentiful rainfall which accounts for 80% of the total annual precipitation. Therefore it is the major source of rainfall in China throughout the year.
In East China, the annual average temperature declines gradually from the south to the north. It is 25℃ in the area of Nansha Inslands, but drops to 5℃ minus in the north. Most parts of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are below 0℃, but that of Tarim Basin are above 10℃. In summer, most areas of China suffer from high temperatures with only a slight difference between the north and the south. For example, the temperature of Heilongjiang Province in North China is only 10℃ lower than that of Hainan Province in South China.
Most parts of China are located in temperate zones. Areas in the south lie in tropical and sub-tropical zones, while those in the north are close to cold temperate zones. Therefore temperatures vary greatly from region to region.
In North China, summer is warm and short while winter is cold and long. Trees in South China stay green around the year. East China is warm and wet with distinct seasons. In Northwest China, temperature varies greatly from morning to afternoon. Local people often wear heavy coats in the morning and change into short sleeve silk shirts at noon. Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in Southwest China is characterized by low temperature among four seasons. It is an extremely cold area in China.
To find out the best time to travel China, please read the following topics about China climate, and we have recommended some places to go.