Intellicast's Climate Guide To The Middle East

Located in the heart of the Eastern Hemisphere, the Middle Eastern climate is affected by a number of meteorological and geographical features. From frequent mountain snow and heavy monsoon rains to the vast deserts and complex mountain ranges, the Middle East encounters a variety of extreme weather conditions.

Travelers to the Middle East during the summer months, which run from May to October, should be prepared to encounter some of the most extreme heat found across the globe. Temperatures across much of this region, excluding higher elevations, are capable of approaching, and sometimes exceeding, 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Interior sections are generally dry which creates more bearable conditions especially at night as clear skies allow temperatures to drop sharply providing a well-deserved respite from the heat of the day. Coastal locations along the Persian Gulf, and the Mediterranean and Arabian Sea are not as lucky as high humidity results in very oppressive and uncomfortable conditions even overnight. Local sea breezes are the only hope for a brief escape from this unbearable heat.

Summertime precipitation is generally confined to portions of Pakistan and coastal Oman as the monsoon brings the risk for rain and showers. Oman is also vulnerable to tropical cyclones that may develop in the Arabian Sea. The higher plateau area of Turkey, the mountains of Yemen and Iran, as well as the Caspian coastline of Iran may also experience a few showers and thunderstorms. Otherwise, very dry conditions are likely throughout the Middle East with a minimal chance for precipitation.

Unsettled weather is much more likely in the Middle East during the winter months from November through April. Disturbances rolling in from the Mediterranean bring an increased chance for clouds and rainfall in Cyprus, Turkey and along coastal sections of the Near East, northern Syria and the northern Plains of Iraq. Following a fairly quiet autumn in Pakistan and Iran, changeable skies, clouds, and showers are possible during the winter. The Arabian Peninsula also sees an increase in clouds and the possibility of occasional showers.

Temperatures during the winter can become quite cold in portions of the Middle East as north or northeasterly winds transport cold air from Russia and Siberia. These cold temperatures create frost and allow precipitation to fall as snow in the higher elevations of the Near East and Cyprus and in the interior and higher elevations of Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey. Very cold temperatures in Turkey, especially in the East, result in a very slow melting of snow cover. The Arabian Peninsula remains mild to warm through the winter, although a cold blast of air may affect some areas as far south as Bahrain.

NEAR EAST
(IRAQ, SYRIA, JORDAN, LEBANON, ISRAEL)

Influenced by both the warm and moist Mediterranean Sea and the hot and dry conditions of the Arabian Desert, the Near East features distinct and sometimes harsh climatic changes from winter to summer.

Abundant sunshine, extreme heat, and dry conditions are characteristic of the summer months in the Near East. Temperatures easily reach, and many times exceed, the 100 degree mark on a daily basis. A strong east to southeast wind called the Sirocco greatly amplifies the heat in the western portion of this area by transporting hot and dry air from the Arabian Desert. These winds generally occur at the start and finish of summer and may cause temperatures to quickly soar as high as 120 degrees!

The remainder of the summertime features little change from day-to-day with minimal risk for precipitation. Daylight hours are especially oppressive in southern Iraq and along the Mediterranean Coast, as humidity levels are high. Local afternoon sea breezes are the only chance for a respite from these sultry conditions. The interior also features extreme heat, although low humidity levels result in a more bearable atmosphere. Overnight temperatures in the interior are generally lower and more comfortable as clear skies allow the heat from the day to quickly escape from the surface. Higher elevations are usually cooler at this time and provide a retreat for the locals to escape the heat.

Between the winter months of December through March, the Near East has the best chance for precipitation especially along the Mediterranean Coast, northwest Syria, and in the northern Plains of Iraq. Disturbances rolling in from the Mediterranean Sea bring heavy bouts of rain to the coast and northern portions of the area. The increase in clouds and precipitation provide a relief from the heat in the form of mild temperatures. Temperatures in the higher elevations can become quite cold bringing the chance for frost and snow. Interior sections are generally drier, although occasional showers are possible and may cause flooding due to their infrequent nature. Extreme southern sections of Israel and Jordan present the least chance for precipitation throughout the year.

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL

Month
Record Low
Normal Low Normal High Record High Average Rainfall Average # Of Rain Days
January 26°F
-3°C
41°F
5°C
55°F
13°C
77°F
25°C
5.2 inches
132 mm
9
February 27°F
-3°C
42°F
6°C
56°F
13°C
80°F
27°C
5.2 inches
132 mm
11
March 30°F
-1°C
46°F
8°C
65°F
18°C
87°F
31°C
2.5 inches
64 mm
3
April 36°F
2°C
50°F
10°C
73°F
23°C
102°F
39°C
1.1 inches
28 mm
3
May 42°F
6°C
57°F
14°C
81°F
27°C
103°F
39°C
0.1 inches
3 mm
1
June 47°F
8°C
60°F
16°C
85°F
29°C
107°F
42°C
0 inches
0 mm
0
July
50°F
10°C
63°F
17°C
87°F
31°C
100°F
38°C
0 inches
0 mm
0
August 52°F
11°C
64°F
18°C
87°F
31°C
103°F
39°C
0 inches
0 mm
0
September 50°F
10
°C
62°F
17°C
85°F
29
°C
103°F
39
°C
0 inches
0 mm
0
October 47°F
8°C
59°F
15°C
81°F
27°C
97°F
36°C
0.5 inches
13 mm
1
November 39°F
4°C
53°F
12°C
70°F
21°C
88°F
31°C
2.8 inches
71 mm
4
December 27°F
-3°C
45°F
7°C
59°F
15°C
79°F
26°C
3.4 inches
86 mm
7

TURKEY AND CYPRUS

The varying altitudes of these Mediterranean locations produce sharp changes in climate, from the coastline to the interior, especially during the winter months.

Similar to the Near East, summertime months in this region are also hot and dry. The best chance for precipitation during this time is across the interior plateau of Turkey where thunderstorms may develop on occasion. Coastal areas are more humid than interior sections, creating oppressive conditions that are alleviated only by occasional sea breezes.

Disturbances migrating from the Mediterranean bring wet weather to Cyprus and the Turkey coastline during the winter. Frequent snowfall is likely in the higher elevations of Cyprus and interior portions of Turkey, especially in the East, where very cold temperatures are possible. Cold air draining down from Russia results in a persistent snow cover during the winter in the interior sections of Turkey.

ARABIAN PENINSULA
(SAUDI ARABIA, YEMEN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, BAHRAIN, KUWAIT, OMAN, QATAR)

This severe, desert climate produces some of the highest temperatures in the world. Massive deserts cover much of the Arabian Peninsula. Precipitation is very low and temperatures that flirt with the 120-degree mark are not unusual in the hot summer months, which last from May through September. Low humidity levels in interior sections create more tolerable conditions and temperatures drop sharply at night as clear skies allow heat to quickly escape the surface. Conditions along the coast are more difficult to bear as humidity levels are high and brief sea breezes provide minimal relief. The Shamal wind is an additional irritant to the heat blowing dust across Kuwait and the Persian Gulf States.

During the summertime, a plentiful amount of rainfall is likely in the mountains of Yemen and in Oman where the outskirts of the southwest monsoon can produce plenty of low clouds, drizzle, and rain. Oman may also be affected by tropical cyclones from the Arabian Sea. These systems can produce wind-driven rain and possible flooding.

Winter months remain mild to warm throughout the region, although occasional winds from the north may transport cold air as far south as Bahrain. Higher mountainous regions feature greater rainfall and lower temperatures. There is a greater chance for showery-type precipitation throughout this area, especially in the north and higher elevations.

BAHRAIN

Month
Record Low
Normal Low Normal High Record High Average Rainfall Average # Of Rain Days
January 41°F
5°C
57°F
14°C
69°F
20°C
85°F
29°C
0.3 inches
8 mm
1
February 45°F
7 °C
59°F
15°C
70°F
21°C
94°F
34°C
0.7 inches
18 mm
2
March 51°F
11°C
63°F
17°C
75°F
24°C
95°F
35°C
0.5 inches
13 mm
1
April 56°F
13°C
70°F
21°C
84°F
29°C
105°F
41°C
0.3 inches
8 mm
1
May 66°F
19°C
78°F
26°C
92°F
33°C
108°F
42°C
0 inches
0 mm
0
June 70°F
21°C
82°F
28°C
96°F
36°C
111°F
44°C
0 inches
0 mm
0
July
75°F
24°C
85°F
29°C
99°F
37°C
112°F
44°C
0 inches
0 mm
0
August 75°F
24°C
85°F
29°C
100°F
38°C
113°F
45°C
0 inches
0 mm
0
September 71°F
21
°C
81°F
27°C
96°F
36
°C
112°F
44
°C
0 inches
0 mm
0
October 66°F
19°C
75°F
24°C
90°F
32°C
103°F
39°C
0 inches
0 mm
0
November 58°F
14°C
69°F
21°C
82°F
28°C
97°F
36°C
0.7 inches
18 mm
1
December 48°F
9°C
60°F
16°C
71°F
22°C
88°F
31°C
0.7 inches
18 mm
2

IRAN AND PAKISTAN

Impacted by a wide variety of weather elements, from monsoon rains to frost and snow, this region features distinct climate changes each season.

Effects of the monsoon can be felt in Pakistan, with rain and showery conditions likely each summer depending upon the intensity of the monsoon. These conditions result in high humidity levels and lower temperatures. Desert areas of the South are generally sunny and hot and, along with the eastern and central Plains, basically escape any impact from the monsoon. Iran is generally sunny, hot, and dry in the summer with a chance for precipitation in the mountains and along the Caspian Coast.

The monsoon diminishes in autumn throughout Pakistan and a greater amount of sunshine and warmer temperatures develop. As winter approaches, some locations in the higher elevations feature the chance for frost as temperatures overnight become chilly at times. An increase in clouds and precipitation is expected in northern areas of Iran at this time.

Northeasterly winds carry very cold air from Siberia throughout Iran and portions of Pakistan in the winter. Frost and snow is possible under these conditions, especially in the higher elevations and interior. Weather is changeable at this time of year and features a greater chance for cloudiness and precipitation. Mild temperatures are likely along coastal locations of the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea. Temperatures begin to rebound quickly in the spring, although there is the chance for occasional showers and even thunderstorms throughout the region.

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