Climate and Seasons in UAE

Climate and Seasons in UAE

Consistent sunshine throughout the year comes with its unique challenges, evident in the climate and seasons in UAE.

Wondering when is the best time for a barbecue or a trip to your neighborhood rooftop bar? Curious about potential weather-related health risks? In this informative guide, we answer these questions and provide valuable tips for acclimating to this distinctive environment. The guide covers the following topics:

Climate and Seasons in UAE

Climate and Seasons in UAE

Climate and Seasons in UAE are as follows…

The UAE Climate: More Than Just Hot Weather

For residents, the UAE’s climate is often boiled down to two seasons – hot and hotter, or simply, summer and a hot summer. But, things are a bit more complicated. Summers in the UAE are indeed hot and sunny, often with stifling humidity that can make outdoor activities unbearable. On the flip side, the mild winters provide a welcome respite. Yet, the transitional periods of spring and autumn have their unique characteristics, including dust storms and occasional rainfall.

In the peak of summer, temperatures can soar to around 50 degrees Celsius, prompting most residents to seek refuge indoors, where air conditioning offers much-needed relief. Expats from colder regions, lured by the year-round sunshine, may find this adjustment particularly challenging and often opt for vacations to cooler, rainy destinations.

Recent years have seen some changes in the climate, along with weather management techniques like cloud seeding. Dust storms still occur regularly, and the occasional snowstorm adds a surprising twist.

With its coastline along the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, the northern part of the country is marked by the Hajar Mountains, while the vast Rub’ Al Khali desert stretches to the southwest. This geographical diversity results in temperature variations of about five degrees across the UAE’s seven emirates. Urban areas along the coast can experience high humidity, often reaching up to 85%, especially in summer. Inland regions are notably drier. The northern mountain areas offer a more temperate summer climate and receive more winter rainfall.

Climate and Seasons in UAE

Dust Storms in the UAE: A Seasonal Challenge

The UAE’s climate is no stranger to frequent sandstorms, a phenomenon that occurs predominantly during the summer months and during the transitional periods when winter shifts into spring. During these events, visibility can drop to just a couple of hundred meters, and many residents report increased incidents of allergies and asthma attacks. UAE sandstorms typically carry a mixture of silica crystals, as well as viruses, bacteria, fungi, dust mites, and even plant particles. These particles can remain suspended in the air for several days.

Fortunately, the country does not witness the intense sand squalls depicted in movies like Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which was set in Dubai. More severe sandstorms are often experienced in other parts of the region, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq, where strong north-westerly winds are more common. Nevertheless, the 2017 UAE Climate Change Risks & Resilience report suggests that global warming may lead to an increase in sandstorms in the future.

Climate and Seasons in UAE

UAE Climate Averages: Sun-Drenched and Generally Dry

Situated at the crossroads of the earth’s tropical and subtropical zones, the UAE boasts a climate that matches its location. In the capital city, Abu Dhabi, the average temperatures range from a comfortable 18 degrees Celsius in January to a toasty 35 degrees in August. A bit further south in Dubai, the mercury remains a degree higher on average throughout the year. Snowfall is practically a non-issue, with only three recorded instances since records began: in 2004, 2009, and 2017.

Umbrellas are rarely needed in the UAE, as the average annual rainfall in coastal areas is less than 120mm per year, although some mountainous regions may receive triple that amount. Rainfall follows a typical tropical pattern, with short but heavy downpours. Consequently, flash floods in usually dry riverbeds and streets can occur, often due to sand-clogged drainage systems.

Wind patterns play a role in the UAE’s climate as well, depending on their direction. The sharqi, a humid, south-eastern wind, can prevail in the coastal areas during the summer. Similarly, the shamal, a cool north-westerly wind that dominates the winter months, can bring sand along with it.

Despite these occasional challenges, the UAE’s reliably sunny climate has made it a sought-after tourist destination. Visitors and residents can expect sunshine nearly every day, with an average of 27 sunlit days from February to April.

Like Climate and Seasons in UAE, you may also like to read about main cities of UAE.

Seasons in the UAE

Seasons in the UAE are as follows…

Winter in the UAE: A Season of Pleasant Temperatures and Festivities

Officially, winter graces the UAE from December through mid-March, contrary to the common misconception that it spans from October to March. During these three months, minimum temperatures typically linger around 12 degrees Celsius, while daytime highs reach approximately 25 degrees. The sea remains invitingly warm for swimming, with temperatures dipping to 23 degrees Celsius at their lowest point, and the Gulf of Oman’s eastern waters are usually a tad warmer than the Persian Gulf.

February stands out as the wettest month, with Abu Dhabi recording an average of about 42mm of rainfall. This season witnesses a surge in outdoor activities, thanks to the more temperate weather. Many residents embark on extended drives and camping expeditions into the desert, while outdoor barbecues, and sometimes even public park barbecues, are a common social pastime. New Year’s Eve celebrations in Dubai have gained significant popularity in recent years, drawing holidaymakers from all around. Shopping festivals, music concerts, and outdoor cinema events are also frequent occurrences throughout the entire winter season.

Spring in the UAE: Warm and Eventful

Compared to European standards, spring in the UAE is pleasantly warm. Average temperatures start around 28 degrees Celsius in March and gradually climb to a range of 35 to 39 degrees Celsius by May. While March may bring intermittent rain, precipitation becomes scarce as the season unfolds. Spring is one of the busiest and most vibrant times of the year in the UAE, with a plethora of events ranging from trade shows to cultural and entertainment festivities.

Climate and Seasons in UAE

Autumn in the UAE: A Season of Contrasts and Outdoor Beginnings

Autumn brings the most significant variations in the UAE, arriving with heat and humidity in September and departing tranquilly in December. Average midday temperatures span from a toasty 40 degrees Celsius at the season’s commencement to a more comfortable 26 degrees by the year’s end. October usually witnesses the occurrence of dust storms, while a modest amount of precipitation, ranging from 4mm to 9mm, graces the season.

Autumn marks the commencement of the outdoor season in the UAE, and residents seize this period to make the most of the country’s magnificent beaches. The season’s highlights include the festivities at the beginning of December, as the UAE celebrates National Day on 2 December, creating an enjoyable long weekend for the nation.

Summer in the UAE: Embracing Indoor Escapes

While many in the northern hemisphere enjoy beach weather during the summer, the months from June to mid-September in the UAE present a different scenario. This is the hottest season of the year, with midday temperatures averaging around 42 degrees Celsius. In recent years, the effects of global warming have led to even higher temperatures, reaching up to 51 degrees, often accompanied by haze and humidity levels exceeding 80%.

Heat-related illnesses, such as heat strokes and hyperthermia, are not uncommon, leading to recommendations for residents to limit outdoor activities to early mornings or late evenings, and to protect themselves with hats and sun umbrellas. Shopping malls and indoor theme parks frequently host cultural events and concerts during the scorching summer season, while water parks and ice rinks offer popular alternatives to beat the heat.

Seasonal Dress in the UAE: Tradition and Adaptation

Emiratis adhere to traditional Arabian desert attire, with men favoring kanduras, long-flowing garments that reach their ankles and feature long sleeves. These kanduras are traditionally white and crafted from lightweight materials like cotton, though during the winter, darker colors with woolen weaves are commonly seen. Local women in the UAE typically wear abayas, loose over-garments or cloaks, often paired with a shayla or headscarf. While abayas were traditionally black, they now come in a variety of colors and can be adorned with embroidery, sequins, feathers, and even fur.

Lightweight clothing remains a staple throughout the year, although chilly office air conditioning might lead some office workers to keep warm with shawls and blankets. It’s not unusual, and sometimes amusing, to spot cardigans and boots being worn indoors during the winter. Businessmen may opt for linen suits in the warmer months, but the UAE’s Islamic values discourage overly revealing attire. Women are expected to have their shoulders covered, and skirts or pants should reach at least to the knee. Similarly, men are advised to wear at least knee-length shorts.

UAE Culture and Traditions

Holiday Seasons in the UAE: Aligned with the School Calendar

In the UAE, seasonal holidays are closely tied to the academic year. The country’s diverse mix of nationalities, each following different academic calendars, can lead to variations in holiday schedules. However, a common practice is for schools to close for the summer break in June and reopen toward the end of August.

Given the high expatriate population and the scorching temperatures during the summer, many residents choose to spend a significant part of the hot season in their home countries. This results in airports experiencing a surge in passenger traffic at the start and end of the summer holiday period, with Dubai International Airport often issuing passenger traffic warnings during this busy time.