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Salween-Mekong basins climate indicators – Rainfall & Temperature

Rainfall: The Salween and Mekong river basins receive an average of 1,226 mm of rainfall per year. Out of the total precipitation, 17% and 69% are received during the pre-monsoon and monsoon season, respectively, whilst 12% is received post-monsoon and only 2% in winter. Higher amounts of rainfall are concentrated in the southern parts of these basins, where the rainfall exceeds 2,500 mm per year. The highest rainfall is concentrated over the southeastern part of the Mekong river basin and western part of the lower Salween basin. Most of the rainfall over the winter months is meagre (less than 50 mm), although the narrow strip of the upper part of the basins receives between 100–200 mm. Within the monsoon season, rainfall has been increasing over the eastern flank of the southern part of the Mekong basin. Rainfall intensity has not changed significantly over time. The number of rainy days is increasing over the northern part of both basins and the southern part of the Mekong basin. Temperature: Over the past decades and across both the Salween and Mekong basins, temperatures have risen, especially in the winter. Extreme maximum temperatures show mixed trends across these basins. Extreme minimum temperatures are rising overall with some exceptions. Overall, the average maximum temperature is around 25°C, ranging from 23°C in the winter to 27°C in the summer. The average minimum temperature is around 14°C, ranging from 18°C in the summer to 9°C in the winter. For both basins, the average winter minimum temperature rose significantly (by 2°C) between 1951 and 2007, with the greatest warming occurring in the northern tip and central part of both basins (over 1°C). The average maximum summer temperature has also shown an increasing trend of around 0.5°C, although there is some spatial variation. Except for a small area in the north, the average maximum temperature during summer is increasing – with the greatest warming occurring over the southern and northern tips with warming greater than 0.5°C. In relation to extreme maximum temperatures, the central part of the Salween and Mekong basins shows decreasing trends, while the northern and southern parts of these basins show an increasing trend. The hottest areas in the southern part of the Mekong basin have shifted westwards over time. Extreme minimum temperatures are rising across these basins, apart from a small area in the north and small pockets within the southern Mekong basin.

Year: 2015

From collection: The Himalayan Climate and Water Atlas

Cartographer: Riccardo Pravettoni

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