Climatic Zone Of Himachal Pradesh


Himachal Pradesh is a state located in the mountainous region with elevations ranging from 300 to 7,000 metres. Due to the varying elevation levels, the state experiences a range of climatic conditions from sub-tropical to semi-arctic. As a result, temperatures and rainfall also vary across the state. While some places in the state experience severe winters, others enjoy pleasant weather during summers.

Geographical Overview

Himachal Pradesh is uniquely positioned, bordered by Jammu & Kashmir to the North, Punjab to the West and South-West, Haryana to the South, Uttar Pradesh to the South-East, and China to the East. Situated between 75o 45' 55" E to 79o 04' 20" E longitude and 30o 22' 40" N to 33o 12' 40" N latitude, the state's elevation spans from 350 to 6975 meters above sea level. 

img source:

Understanding Climate vs. Weather:

Climate, unlike weather, encapsulates long-term weather patterns in a given region. Climate encompasses the prevailing atmospheric conditions, including temperature, precipitation, humidity, and wind patterns, that characterize a region. Unlike weather, climate provides a more stable and generalized description of the typical conditions experienced in a specific area over a more extended timeframe.

Himachal Pradesh, with its dramatic variations in elevation, exhibits a remarkable spectrum of climatic conditions. From the hot and sub-humid tropical climate in the southern tracts to the cold, alpine, and glacial settings in the northern and eastern mountain ranges, the state offers a captivating climatic panorama. 

 Climatic Zones of Himachal Pradesh

AltitudeUp to 800 m800m-1,600m1,600m-2,700m2,700m-3,600m
Type of AreaValley areas and foothillsHilly and mountain rangesAlpine zoneLahaul Spiti and Kinnaur range
Climatic ConditionsSubtropicalSlightly warm temperatureCool temperature with humidityDry and extremely cold conditions
Rainfall (mm)1,5001,500-30001,000-1,500500
% of Total Geographical Area30%10%25%35%
% of Total Cultivated Area56%30%10%5%

Himachal Pradesh unfolds its climatic diversity through six distinct zones.

I. Sub-humid Sub-tropical Zone

This zone covers Una and Sirmaur districts, and parts of Kangra district, offering a mean annual temperature of 24°C and an annual precipitation of around 1000 mm.

II. Humid Sub-tropical Zone

Encompassing Hamirpur and Bilaspur districts, a significant part of Mandi district, Nahan of Sirmaur district, and specific tehsils in Kangra district, this zone maintains a mean annual temperature between 20-24°C, with an annual precipitation ranging from 1,180 to 1,900 mm.

III. Wet Temperate Zone

Covering Palampur and Dharamshala areas of Kangra, along with Jogindarnagar area in Chamba and Mandi district, this zone experiences abundant rainfall. The mean annual temperature ranges from 15-19°C, with an annual rainfall of 2,500 to 3,900 mm.

IV. Humid Temperate Zone

Encompassing parts of Mandi, Solan, Chamba, Kangra, Sirmaur, Kullu, and Shimla districts, this zone showcases a mild and pleasant climate. The mean annual temperature fluctuates between a minimum of 13°C and a maximum of 18°C, with an average annual rainfall of 1,000 to 2,500 mm.

V. Sub-humid Temperate Alpine Highlands

Embracing major portions of Lahaul Spiti, Pangi, and Kinnaur areas, this zone boasts an average annual temperature of 13°C. The annual rainfall measures 600 mm, predominantly in the form of serene snowfall, contributing to the breathtaking alpine scenery.

VI. Frigid Aridic Zone

Covering the Spiti sub-division of Lahaul and Spiti district, along with parts of Chamba and Kinnaur areas, this zone unveils an icy panorama. With a mean annual temperature of 13°C and an annual rainfall averaging about 250 mm, snowfall graces this region, creating a serene winter wonderland.

Factors Influencing Climate

Temperature Dynamics

Regional Temperature Variations:

The temperature of Himachal Pradesh undergoes stark fluctuations, with the mean annual temperature higher in the western parts and gradually decreasing towards the north and east due to increasing altitude. Southern and western areas, such as Una district and parts of Bilaspur and Solan districts, record a maximum mean annual temperature above 25 degrees Celsius. However, in most other parts, the mean annual temperature remains below 15 degrees Celsius. Temperature generally decreases from south to north, with variations in the average monthly temperature during summer and winter months.

Altitudinal Influence:

Temperature variations are also influenced by altitude, with an increase in temperature observed at higher altitudes. This altitudinal impact contributes to the diverse temperature range experienced across the state.

Rainfall Patterns

Monsoonal Influence:

Himachal Pradesh receives the majority of its rainfall from the southwestern monsoon, prevailing from June to September. The average annual rainfall in Himachal Pradesh is 1,251 mm. The replenishment of streams and natural springs during the rainy season is vital for the ecosystem. However, the state must manage the challenges posed by heavy rains, including erosion and the risk of floods and landslides. However, during winter months, western disturbances bring a considerable amount of rainfall and snowfall across the region.

Altitudinal Rainfall Distribution:

Rainfall patterns follow altitudinal trends, increasing from the plains to the hills. Dharamshala, among all the state districts, receives the highest rainfall, measuring nearly 3400 mm. In contrast, Spiti emerges as the driest area, experiencing rainfall below 50mm. This regional contrast is attributed to Spiti being enclosed by high mountains on all sides.

Drought Incidences

Drought in Himachal Pradesh is characterized by a shortfall in monsoon rainfall (June to September) compared to its long-term average. The Indian Meteorological Department classifies Himachal Pradesh as a region prone to frequent droughts (10-20%). Over the period from 1875 to 2004, the state has witnessed a total of 23 droughts, with 20 being moderate and 3 severe instances. The probability of drought occurrence is estimated at 17%, with four instances of consecutive droughts over two years.

Impacts of Pollution on Himachal Pradesh's Climate

While the state's diverse topography contributes to its climatic variations, it is crucial to note the impact of pollution on the overall climate. Pollution has become a significant concern, affecting almost every state in India, including Himachal Pradesh. Addressing environmental challenges is imperative to preserve the ecological balance in this region.

Given the changing weather patterns in the state, it's crucial for both society and the government to adopt sustainable resource utilization. Striking this balance is vital to prevent environmental imbalances that could lead to hazardous consequences. Many areas have experienced shifts in rainfall, resulting in more floods, droughts, intense rain, and frequent and severe heat waves.

Significant transformations are also observed in the planet's oceans and glaciers. Oceans are warming and becoming more acidic, while ice caps are melting, leading to rising sea levels. Recognizing the gravity of these changes is crucial, as they pose challenges to our society and environment. Moving forward, it's imperative to address these challenges proactively.

In the coming decades, these shifts are expected to become more pronounced, requiring a comprehensive approach to mitigate potential adversities. The key lies in preserving natural resources and minimizing pollution as much as possible. By doing so, we can maintain a delicate balance between environmental conservation and sustainable development, ensuring a harmonious coexistence of the two.

ALSO READ ABOUT : Types Of Soil in H.P

HPAS MAINS,Himachal,Geography,Climate zone of himachal pradesh,HP Gk

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post