20 June 2017

The Weather In Mongolia - Embrace The Rain

Ulaanbaatar today has received approximately … well I don't know as I can't find any statistics. However, it has been raining almost continually for 24 hours now. It's nothing new though, Mongolia is used to high-intensity rainfall in the summer months.

True, not necessarily what you want to hear as a traveller who has just booked your international flight tickets to visit Mongolia this summer.

Anyway, it's the first major soaking of the year and much needed. Even if it has turned the roads of Ulaanbataar into a swimming pool.  This was on the FB site justMongolianthings … !

Insufficient drainage systems remain a major issue here in UB. Also, poor waste management causes congestion of existing drains.  Many sections of existing drainage structures have been demolished to make way for new construction. Anyway. You get the idea.

But. Mongolia does actually receive little rain compared to elsewhere in the world. Mongolia is called the Land of the Eternal Blue Sky because of … well, the blue sky. Roughly 250-260 days per year are without cloud. However, if you want to experience those blue sky days it's best to come in the … winter. Yep, then you only have to contend with the freezing temperatures instead!

Basically, the high central Asian mountain ranges of the Himalayas and the Altai protect Mongolia against the humid air masses. A big block of cold dry air (the Siberian Anticyclone) sits on top of the country and prevents the low-pressure rain filled air through - keeping things dry - especially in winter. 

However, rain does eventually get through. As today shows.

This is the main airport road. 

Image by gogoMongolia

And yes, as elsewhere in the world. The weather in Mongolia is changing. According to Oyun Sanjaasuren, former President of the United Nations Environment Assembly:

'Mongolia's average warming over the past couple of years is 2.2 degrees Celsius, which is considered the hottest in the country since the 1940s, and the global average is at 0.8 degrees Celsius.'

That means that rainfall becomes a more fragile commodity. And that's important in a country with roughly 61.5 million head of livestock and where 30-40% are still herders.

So. When you visit Mongolia this summer, don't get grumpy when it rains. Embrace it. 

It's not all grey depressing skies. The weather systems do (typically) move through quite quickly. When it does rain adjust your thinking and see it from the perspective of a Mongolian herder – rain is a blessing as it helps to rejuvenate the grasslands and bring fresh rich pasture. 

Bring the waterproofs as well as your sunglasses and accept that it might rain. Mongolia is glorious … whatever the weather. 

If  you would like a brief guide to when to travel to Mongolia, you can always look the Mongolian Tour Calendar page (being updated) on my Eternal Landscapes website. But a warning, I'm biased and recommend anytime of year. Each season has its own distinct highlights - everything from combing cashmere in the spring winds to hunting with eagles in western Mongolia in the winter