Climate of Turkey

by Serhat Sensoy, Mesut Demircan, Yusuf Ulupinar, and Izzet Balta
Turkish State Meteorological Service

Although Turkey is situated in large Mediterranean geographical location where climatic conditions are quite temperate, diverse nature of the landscape, and the existence in particular of the mountains that run parallel to the coasts, result in significant differences in climatic conditions from one region to the other. While the coastal areas enjoy milder climates, the inland Anatolian plateau experiences extremes of hot summers and cold winters with limited rainfall.

Turkey receives most of the rainfall in the winter season. In this season, mean temperature usually is below 5°C and there is no too much evaporation. But summer rainfall is very limited and could not be enough to remove water deficit resulted from increased temperature and evaporation.

The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts have cool, rainy winters and hot, moderately dry summers. Annual precipitation in those areas varies from 580 to 1,300 millimeters, depending on location. The Black Sea coast receives the greatest amount of rainfall. The eastern part of that receives 2,200 millimeters annually and is the only region of Turkey that receives rainfall throughout the year.

Turkey's diverse regions have different climates because of irregular topography. Taurus Mountains are close to the coast and rain clouds cannot penetrate to the interior part of the country. Rain clouds drop most of their water on the coastal area. As rain clouds pass over the mountains and reach central Anatolia they have no significant capability to produce of rain. In the Eastern region of Anatolia, the elevation of mountains exceeds 2500-3000 m. Northern Black Sea Mountains and Caucasian Mountain hold the rain clouds, and therefore the area is affected by the continental climate with long and very cold winter. Minimum temperatures of -30°C to -38°C are observed in the mountainous areas in the east, and snow may lie on the ground 120 days of the year. Winters are bitterly cold with frequent, heavy snowfall. Villages in thee region remain isolated for several days during winter storms.

Mean Temperature of Turkey

In Istanbul and around the Sea of Marmara the climate is moderate (winter 4°C and summer 27°C); in winter however the temperatures can drop below zero. In Western Anatolia, there is a mild Mediterranean climate with average temperatures of 9°C in winter and 29°C in summer. On the southern coast of Anatolia the similar climatic condition are observed. The climate of the Anatolian Plateau is a steppe climate. There is a great temperature difference between day and night. Rainfall is low but it usually in form of snow. The average temperature is 23°C in summer and -2°C in winter. The climate in the Black Sea area is wet, and humid (summer 23°C, winter 7°C). In the Eastern Anatolia region there is a long winter, and snow remains on the ground from November until the end of April (the average temperature in winter is -13 °C and in summer 17 °C). In the South-Eastern Anatolia region, summers are hot and dry, with temperatures above 30°C. Spring and autumn are generally mild, but during both seasons sudden hot and cold spells frequently occur in the region.