Weather In Mongolia – Embrace The Rain

The beautiful smile of a local Mongolian boy from a herding family
Mother and Children’s Day Mongolia
June 1, 2017
The remote Baldan Bereeven Khiid Monastery. It is a tough drive to get here so don't just come for an hour. Stay a day and make the most of the tranquillity.
Mongolia’s National Parks and Nature Reserves
October 26, 2017

Weather In Mongolia – Embrace The Rain

If you’ve travelled to Mongolia during the summer then more than likely you got wet at some point as the country typically experiences high-intensity rainfall in the summer months – it’s all part of the weather in Mongolia. 

Tourism is a fickle industry and temperatures, sunshine, and rainfall have all been identified as important tourism factors in the summer season and variations in weather conditions can lead to large changes in tourism demand. But, although we appreciate there are safety factors to consider,  here at EL we’re asking travellers to embrace the rain.

We focus solely on Mongolia and over the past almost two decades we have seen the impact of the climate emergency on this vast country. As well as changes in the weather in Mongolia, such as the seasonal rainfall pattern becoming erratic and an increase in localised severe weather events, there’s also been an increase in desertification and a loss of biodiversity.

Mongolia is classed as a water-stressed country with groundwater the main water source of drinking and industrial water.  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. Basically, the high central Asian mountain ranges of the Himalayas and the Altai protect Mongolia against 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.

You can also have a conversation with your tour operator or guide about their choice of accommodation for you in Mongolia.  One unique feature of tourism development in Mongolia is the emergence of ‘tourist ger camps’ geared towards the country’s emerging middle class and foreign travellers. However, these ger camps typically have no access to central infrastructure such as water supply and wastewater and water management solutions are urgently needed in order to protect the environment. Some ger camps are more sustainable than others though so speak to your tour operator about why they choose the camp they do.  

 

However, rain does eventually get through and can cause chaos. As this photo of Ulaanbaatar shows. This is the main airport road. 

Weather in Mongolia - heavy rain in Ulaanbaatar

Photo by Gogo Mongolia


Flooding In Ulaanbaatar

For those who have been in Ulaanbaatar (UB)  – Mongolia’s capital city – during intense rainfall, you may have experienced flooding as UB, home to over half of the country’s population but highly vulnerable to flood risk due to factors such as a lack of urban planning,  insufficient drainage systems as well poor solid waste management which has congested the natural and artificial drainage systems that do exist.

Weather in Mongolia - jokes about rain in Ulaanbaatar

From Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/ijustMongolianthings

Also, by law, all Mongolian citizens can claim 700 square meters of land for residential use in and around Ulaanbaatar. This has led to the unplanned ger areas that surround Ulaanbaatar to the north, east and west expanding into mountain slopes and flood plains. Because these areas are largely unplanned they lack basic services and infrastructure, making them more vulnerable to the impacts of flooding.

 


 

Because of the impact of climate change, Mongolia’s annual precipitation has decreased and the (previously reliable) seasonal rainfall pattern has become erratic including more intense downpours which leads to runoff and flash floods rather than the replenishing of the water table. Rainfall has essentially become a more fragile commodity. And that’s important in a country with roughly 70 million head of livestock and where 30-40% of the population are herders including herding families that we work in long-term local community partnership with. 

 So what we’re asking is that if you visit Mongolia in the summer, don’t get angry 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. 

We already work responsibly on a local level and we’re a  registered Mongolian company and social travel enterprise, focusing on creating positive social change in Mongolia.  We believe that travel can and should be a positive experience for both the visitor and the destination country itself – its natural environment, people, culture and traditions. But, we are aware that tourism forms part of the causes behind the impacts of climate change and as a business working in tourism we feel we have a responsibility to help combat problems including those created by tourism itself. This is not about cancelling international travel but it is about travelling better – travelling in a more conscious way. You can learn more here – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/climate-action-plan/.

 

And to finish on, if you are travelling to Mongolia in the summer, just remember to bring waterproofs as well as your sunglasses!

Weather in Mongolia - snow in Ulaanbaatar in May

*Memories by Jess* It was late May 2006. This was Day One of the first trip I ran as a tour guide in Mongolia … when heavy rain battered our guests on their Ulaanbaatar city exploration. That heavy rain caused floods city wide and was then followed by snow. Welcome to Mongolia is all I could say!

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