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Dunhuang Weather and Climate

Dunhuang, being surrounded by high mountains, has an arid, continental climate. It has four special characteristics. The first is lots of direct sunshine. The second is little rainfall. The annual average rainfall here is only 39.9 mm. The third is the climate's four distinct seasons.

The climate of Dunhuang is not so bad as we imagined. Dunhuang is surrounded by high mountains, its great distance from the moist sea breezes helped form its arid continental climate. The annual average temperature is 9.3 C (48.74 F) in Dunhuang, but ranges from 24.7 C (76.46 F) in July to -9.3 C (15.26 F) in January.

The city is extremely hot in summer and cold in winter, and usually has sharp temperature differences between day and night. Precipitation occurs only in trace amounts and quickly evaporates. Lastly, sand storms can be a problem in the Dunhuang , with the wind sometimes reaching speeds of 3m/sec .

Spring is transient with sharp temperature swings. Summer is short and hot, but not sweltering. Autumn witnesses rapid temperature drops from its peak in July. Winter here is long and cold, but not freezing, with relatively little snow and rain.

Travellers, hikers and the like are strongly advised to bring along thick overcoats in the mercurial winter months. It is recommended that you wear a light top with long sleeves in Summer and a hat to protect from strong UV radiation.

The best time to visit Dunhuang and the ancient Silk Road is from May to October.