MAJOR ASPECTS OF CLIMATE

Temperature. The temperature regime and its distribution throughout Azerbaijan is regular and depends on the features of air masses, entering to the country, the regional landscape and proximity to the Caspian Sea. The Caspian Sea causes temperatures in the maritime areas (20 km away from the sea) to decline in the summer and raises it in the winter. At the same time it relatively softens the influence of hot and dry air masses coming from Central Asia. The average annual temperature totals 14-15 C in the Kur-Araz lowland, the coastal regions south to the Apsheron peninsula and in Lenkoran lowland. The temperature declines in the direction to mountains and amounts to 4-5 C at a height of 2000 meters and 1-2 C at 3000 meters height.

The temperature does not fall below zero even in the coldest month of the year (January) in plains and foothills. It even totals 3-4C on the Apsheron peninsula and areas and islands south of it. Temperature decreases with altitude and makes up -5-6 C -7C in Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic) at a height of 2000 meters above sea level, while at a height of 3000 meters it amounts to nearly -12-13C. In the hottest month of a year (July) the average temperature mainly equals 26-27C in the Kur-Araz lowland, while in other plains and foothills it does not fall below 24C. At a height of 2000 meters in the mountains the temperatures total 14.16C and at a height above 3000 meters they do not fall below 8-10 C.

The absolute temperature maximum (46C) and minimum (-32C) are registers on the plains around Araz in Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, characterized by its continental climate

Precipitation. Precipitations is mainly connected with the entry of air masses to Azerbaijan. The interaction between the air masses and landscape and the Caspian Sea predetermines the volume of precipitations and their annual distribution.

Average annual precipitation is lowest (below 150-200 mm) in Southeastern Gobustan and on the south coast of the Apsheron peninsula. Annual precipitation is lower than 300 mm in the center and east of the Kur-Araz lowland, on the plains around the Araz in the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, Qobustan and Absheron.

The level of precipitation gradually increases from the Caspian Sea shore to the west, from plains to mountains. Precipitation increases with altitude till a definite height in mountains (2600-2800 meters in Major and Minor Caucasus, 2600-3000 meters in Nakhichevan, 200-600 meters in Talysh) then gradually declines.

In this region maximum annual precipitation maximum on southern slopes of Major Caucasus totals 1400-1600 mm, northeastern slope-800 mm, Minor Caucasus and Nakhichevan AR-800-900 mm, in Talysh mountains-1700-1800 mm.

Unlike other mountain areas, in the Talysh Mountains the volume of precipitation declines with altitude and at high altitudes it is even lower than 250-300 mm. Though precipitation mainly fall in hot part of the year (April-October), summer months are dry and at that period precipitations make up 5-15% of the annual norm even in the Lenkeran-Astara zone, notable for the highest level of precipitations.

The number of days of precipitation falling does not exceed 60-70 days per year in the Kur-Araz lowland and plains around the Araz in the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, while at the central part of southern slope of Major Caucasus the number reaches 170 days. The highest daily maximum of precipitations has been registered at southern slope of Major Caucasus (148 mm, Alibey) and in Talysh mountains (334 mm, Beleser).

The intensity of rainfalls reaches 1-2 and even 3 mm per minute. On the plains rains make up the 4/5 part of precipitation, while in mountains they account for 1/3 of its part. The snow blanket is short-lived and sometimes it does not fall for several years in the plains. The areas, accounting for the highest level of snow, are at southern slope of Major Caucasus. The days when snow fully covers the ground total 80-120 in middle highlands and reaches 250 days in the mountains. The snow is eternal on the highest alp of Major Caucasus.

Humidity. Absolute annual humidity totals 11-12 lb in the Kur-Araz lowland and 14-15 lb on the Caspian Sea coast.

In mountains it declines with altitude and equals 9 lb at a height of 1000 m and 7 lb at a height of 2000 meters. Absolute humidity is relatively low in the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic and at definite altitudes it is by 1-1.5 lb lower from other regions of Azerbaijan. Absolute humidity is the highest in the hottest period of a year (July-August). It totals 20-24 lb at the coastal regions and the Qahih-Ayrichay valley and 8-10 lb at a height of 3000 meters.In January the level of humidity on plains equals 6 lb, at a height of 1500 meters it's approximately 3 lb. At that period the lowest level of humidity is registered in the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic and on plains (4lb) while in mountains the level is even lower.

Annual Relative Humidity is the highest on the Caspian Sea shore (75-80%) and it reaches its minimum in of Nakhichevan AR and Major and Minor Caucasus (55-65%)

In summer the relative humidity is the lowest in Nakhichevan AR (35-50%), at the highest altitudes of Talysh mountains (50-55%) and in the Kur-Araz lowland.

Relative humidity reaches its top on the seashore and highest altitudes of Major and Minor Caucasus (60-85%).

Through winter months relative humidity is maximal on the seashore and minimal in the highlands.

Evaporation. The highest annual evaporation is typical of the Nakhichevan AR, plains around the Araz (over 1200-1400 mm) and the Kur-Araz plain (1000-1200 mm). It ranges from 800 to 1000 mm on other plains and lowlands of Azerbaijan. In mountains evaporation decreases with altitude. On middle uplands possible evaporation falls down to 300-400 mm in mountains-to 200 mm.

Cloudiness. The regime and allocation of cloudiness are connected with air circulation and the orography of the area. The cloudiness is maximal in high mountains (over 2000 meters, in summer and spring), mid highlands and at foothills (2000-500 meters).

Fions (hot and dry winds) are typical for mountain areas in cold months of the year, while winds are observed in plains and foothills in hot months.

Average annual wind speed equals 5 m/s in the country.

However, it ranges from 6 to 8 m/s on the coastal areas of Apsheron peninsula.

The days when the wind blows with the speed of 15 m/s and more total 100-145 in this region.

Ganja-Kazakh plain is characterized by strong winds (25-70 days)

Strong winds are less frequent in other regions of Azerbaijan.