Shigatse Weather, Shigatse Climate

Shigatse city is constructed in a river valley area, the land connecting Yarlung Zangbo River and Nianchu River. As the second largest city of Tibet, Shigatse is religiously significant for being the seat of the Panchen Lamas past and present. Shigatse is a prefecture-level city of Tibet, with an immense area under its jurisdiction. In its eastern parts, locate Mount Everest and the Himalaya valleys bordering Nepal; Its western part reaches Ngari, the coldest part of Tibet, home to Mount Kailash. Therefore, the weather of Shigatse varies a lot between the city, and the remote mountainous areas. In this article, we're introducing the weather, temperature and precipitation, as well as what to wear & pack for a trip to Shigatse city.

Shigatse City  
Shigatse City

Monthly Weather of Shigatse

With such a great geographical size, there are actually three major climate types in Shigatse region.

#1 The first climate type is similar to the Lhasa climate, which is Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Temperate Zone-Alpine Semi-arid and Monsoon Climate, influencing Shigatse city center and around.

#2 The second climate type is Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Sub-frigid Zone-Apline Semi-arid and Monsoon Climate, which dominates the small area north of Gangdise-Nyenchen Tangglha Mountain Range, close to Ngari.

#3 The third climate type applies to the southern part of Shigatse, south of the main ridge line of the Himalayas, which is Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Temperate Zone-Semi-humid and Monsoon Climate.

Note: In this article, we're mainly introducing the climate and weather in the vicinity of Downtown Shigatse.

12-month historical data of Shigatse weather in 2019
Weather Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.
Average high(℃) 7 10 12 16 20 24 22 21 21 17 13 9
Average low(℃) -12 -9 -4 1 5 9 11 10 7 -1 -8 -12
Extreme high(℃) 8 13 18 21 22 28 28 23 24 19 16 12
Extreme low(℃) -18 -14 -12 -3 2 4 7 7 3 -4 -10 -19
Precipitation (mm) 0 0 1 5 18 48 132 141 44 5 0 2
Average rainy days 0 0 0 2 4 5 28 19 23 1 0 0
Average humidity 22% 18% 21% 27% 36% 43% 60% 64% 56% 38% 27% 28%
Sunshine hours 10.6 11.3 12.2 12.8  13.4  13.9  13.7  13.1  12.3  11.5  10.8 10.4

Noteworthy conclusion based on the above history data

  • The coldest month in Shigatse in 2019: January
  • The warmest month in Shigatse in 2019: June
  • There are six months when the average low temperatures are above 0℃, which are from April to September.
  • The wettest month is August with 141 mm precipitation; and the driest months are November, January and February, with only 0mm at average each month.

Seasonal Weather of Shigatse

Spring: The average temperature is between 16 to 0 degrees Celsius. And the average precipitation is 24mm.
Summer: The average temperature is between 22 to 10 degrees Celsius. And the average precipitation is 321mm.
Autumn: The average temperature is between 17 to 0 degrees Celsius. And the average precipitation is 49mm.
Winter: The average temperature is between 8 to -11 degrees Celsius. And the average precipitation is 2mm.

Temperature details: The historically recorded extreme high temperature is 28℃ and the extreme low is -19℃. The annual average temperature is about 6.3℃. The frost-free season of Shigatse is over 120 days long, whereas Lhasa has 100 day to 120 days frost-free season.

Rainfalls: The average annual precipitation is between 200mm to 510mm. In 2019, the annual precipitation is 396mm. Rainfalls are concentrated during June to September. The rainfall amount in Summer makes up 81% of the annual figure in Shigatse, in which 70% to 80% of the rains happen in the nighttime.

Humidity in Shigatse: There are only three months (July to September) when the average humidity levels meet the requirements of the body-comfort index (49% to 60%). The remaining nine months are considerably dry, with average humidity ranging between 18% and 43%.

UV radiation index: There are five levels of UV index, which are marked by numbers normally ranging from 0 to 10. In the nights or cloudy days, UV index is 0; When the UV index is between 3 to 4, it indicates cloudy weather, which suggests relatively weak UV level. When the index is between 5 to 6, it is patchy cloudy, meaning that the UV radiation is at strong level; 7 to 9 UV index means very strong radiation; And when the index is over 10, extreme UV radiation is detected. The harm that UV can do to human's skin is in direct proportion to the UV index.

Shigatse has slightly stronger UV radiation than Lhasa. The strong UV radiation hours are beyond the normal period from 10am to 3pm. It is common that UV index of Shigatse is over 5 and up to 12 or higher, which symbolizes strong and very strong UV level.

Sunshine hours: The average annual number of sunshine hours is about 3,300 hours in Shigatse, which is 300 hours more than that of Lhasa.

Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse  
Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse

What to wear in the four seasons in Shigatse?

The three principles to follow while choosing clothing for Shigatse are warmth, lightweight, and dressing in layers. Warm clothing protects travelers from getting cold; Lightweight alleviates the burden to the body which is helpful when acclimatizing to the altitudes; Dressing in layers are out of the needs resulted from the dramatic daily temperature difference. Detailed advice is as follows,

  • Head part: In different seasons and for different needs, you could choose from sunhat, cap, or beanie to protect your face from being exposed to extreme strong UV, harsh wind or just losing heat.
  • Inner layer: Never choose cotton material as the clothing next to the skin, if you're after some outdoor activities when sweating is frequent. Instead, opt for synthetic material which is quick dry.
  • Middle layers: fleece is good in breathability, warmth, and the elasticity to allow freedom of body movement.
  • Outer layer: Mountaineering jacket, or a down coat are four-sour must-have clothing, (better with water resistance and windproof function).
  • Trousers that are fleece inner lined, are good ideas in the coldest winter months, especially in December and January.
  • Good walking shoes are important even when your hiking or trekking are done nearby the city areas. Since Tibet is very dusty, and the tracks in the outskirts might be covered by gravels, high-ankle or middle-high ankle shoes are useful.

All year-round packing essential

  • To protect the eyes, skin from harmful effects of the strong UV, sunglasses with UV sign, sunblock with SPF50+, are absolutely necessary things to travel in the entire Tibet including Shigatse.
  • Neckerchief, face mask, and shawl can also come in handy; They are easy to be put on or removed, and also lovely accessories.
  • To cope with the dryness in the air, carry moisture, lip balm and bottled water/beverage to keep hydrated.
Related articles
Tibet Weather in November As the early winter in Tibet, November has the comfortable temperatures ranging from -5°C to 12°C, with dryer and clearer weather. You’ll feel warm in daytime because of the bright sunshine on the plateau as always!
Tibet Weather in December In December, the temperatures drop as low as -9°C at night. But you’ll also enjoy agreeable sunny weather during the day, with the highest temperature up to 9°C. A moderate tour in central Tibet would be a good choice.
Tibet Weather in October With the highest temperature up to 17°C, October is still a great time for Tibet travel. Sun cream is essential as the UV rays are strong all year around. Snows may block the way to remote areas from end of the month.
Tibet Weather in September Rainy season comes to an end from this month, and the weather is delightfully cool. Grab the last chance to travel to Tibet before Tibet gets cold. Just be aware of the huge temperature difference between day and night.
Tibet Weather in August Summer continues in August. You’ll enjoy a warm and pleasurable weather while traveling in Tibet. On the other hand, August has the heaviest rainfall throughout the year, so an umbrella should be in your packing list.
Tibet Weather in July Here summer comes! The temperature can get as high as 23°C in daytime. However, it will drop below 10°C at night. So, don’t forget to bring a jacket or sweater for nights. A down coat is also needed for the Everest tour.

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