The climate and weather of Northern areas of Pakistan is controlled by elevation. The high mountains above 16000 feet remain snowbound throughout the year while the narrow valleys have an extreme climate both in summer and winter.

The area under discussion, generally, has cold winters and mild summers. The following is a short description of the temperature and precipitation of the area.


The high mountains record below freezing temperatures throughout the year. While the temperatures of the deep valleys show extreme variations in summer and winter. The daily temperature range is also very high. For instance, Gilgit, at an elevation of about 4,500 feet and surrounded by high mountains records temperatures at mid-day in July that often exceeds 100 F while due to enhanced katabatic affect night time low can fall to as low as 60 F. This shows a very high diurnal range of 40 F! The same station during January, however, records temperatures as low as 20 F during the peak of winter.

Skardu, at a higher elevation of about 7500 feet has somewhat milder summers. But even here, temperatures of over 95 F are not uncommon in mid-summer. It is interesting to note that it is the same place which holds the record for coldest city in Pakistan. On January 24, 1994, Skardu recorded a temperature of -16 F! This clearly shows that deep valleys surrounded by high mountains like Gilgit and Skardu show extremes of temperature in summer and winter.


The precipitation on high mountains is in the form of snow throughout the year. On the low, deep vallies, it is in the form of rain in summer and snow in winter.

The prime rain bearing system in this area is the western disturbance that affects this region between December to April each year and gives moderate precipitation.

The summers are almost rainless. No summer month at Gilgit records more than 0.5 inch of rainfall. The figures for Skardu are similar. There is a general deficiency of precipitation. No wonder then that at places like Gilgit, a few miles from the city, sand dunes can be seen.

The relative humidity is low throughout the year and very cold and dry wind blows from the North East, especially at Skardu in winter.

In short, the climate of the Northern Areas of Pakistan show extremes of temperatures with a general deficiency in precipitation throughout the year.

Source by Waqar Awan