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Land and Resources, Climate

Mazandaran Province, Strait of Hormuz, Yazd, Gulf of Oman, southern Iran

Iran’s varied landscape produces several different climates. On the northern edge of the country, the Caspian coastal plain, with an average elevation at or below sea level, remains humid all year. Winter temperatures rarely fall below freezing, and maximum summer temperatures rarely exceed 29° C (85° F). Annual precipitation averages 650 mm (26 in) in the eastern part of the plain (Mazandaran Province) and more than 1,900 mm (75 in) in the western part (Gilan Province).

At higher elevations to the west, settlements in the Zagros Mountain basins experience lower temperatures. These areas are subject to severe winters, with average daily temperatures below freezing, and warm summers, averaging 25° C (77° F) in the northwest and 33° C (91° F) in the central and southern Zagros. Annual precipitation, including snowfall, averages more than 280 mm (11 in) at higher elevations. Most precipitation falls between October and April.

The central plateau region also experiences regional variations. In Tehran, located at an elevation of 1,200 m (3,900 ft) on the northern edge of the plateau, the temperature averages 2° C (36° F) in January and 29° C (85° F) in July. The city receives an average of 230 mm (9 in) of precipitation annually. The arid basins of central and eastern Iran generally receive less than 200 mm (8 in) of precipitation per year. Yazd, for example, averages less than 70 mm (3 in) of precipitation. Its winters are cool, but temperatures almost never fall below freezing; summers are very hot, averaging 38° C (100° F) for most of July and August.

The coastal plains along the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman in southern Iran have mild winters, with average January temperatures ranging from 7° C to 18° C (45° F to 64° F) in Khuzestan Province; average temperatures are even higher in Bandar-e ‘Abbas on the Strait of Hormuz. Summers are very humid and hot, with temperatures exceeding 48° C (119° F) during July in the interior areas. Annual precipitation ranges from 145 mm to 355 mm (6 to 14 in) in this region.

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