Climate in Sanaa, Yemen

Sanaa, the capital city of Yemen, is a place steeped in history, culture, and unique climatic conditions. Situated in the highlands of southwestern Yemen, Sanaa’s climate is characterized by its high elevation, arid desert conditions, and distinctive temperature variations. In this comprehensive description, we will delve into the climate of Sanaa, its seasonal variations, and the factors that contribute to its unique weather patterns.

Geographical Location and Topography:

According to andyeducation, Sanaa is located at approximately 15.3694° N latitude and 44.1910° E longitude, nestled within a valley in the Yemeni Highlands, specifically within the Sanaa Basin. The city is surrounded by mountains, including the Jabal an-Nabi Shu’ayb to the north, which is the highest peak in the Arabian Peninsula, reaching an elevation of over 3,666 meters (12,028 feet). This topographical feature significantly influences Sanaa’s climate.

Climate Classification:

Sanaa experiences a desert climate classified as BWh in the Köppen climate classification system. This climate type is characterized by high temperatures, arid conditions, and minimal precipitation.

Seasonal Variations:

Summer in Sanaa (June – September): Sanaa’s summer season is characterized by extreme heat and low humidity. Daytime temperatures during the summer months typically range from 30°C to 35°C (86°F to 95°F) but can occasionally exceed 40°C (104°F) during heatwaves. The city’s high elevation moderates the heat to some extent, but it is still hot by most standards.

Rainfall is virtually nonexistent during the summer, and the region experiences clear skies with plenty of sunshine. Despite the heat, the arid conditions limit the risk of humidity, making the weather bearable during the daytime. However, the city cools down significantly at night due to its elevation, with temperatures often dropping to around 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F).

Autumn in Sanaa (October – November): Autumn in Sanaa is a transitional season marked by gradually decreasing temperatures and occasional rainfall. Daytime highs range from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F), providing a respite from the scorching summer heat. October and November are the rainiest months of the year, but the rainfall remains limited, with totals averaging around 20 to 40 millimeters (0.8 to 1.6 inches) per month.

The occasional showers bring some relief from the arid conditions and create a temporary greening of the landscape. The cooling weather and the small amount of precipitation make this season more pleasant for outdoor activities.

Winter in Sanaa (December – February): Sanaa’s winter season is relatively mild compared to the extreme heat of summer. Daytime temperatures typically range from 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F), with nighttime lows often dropping to 5°C to 10°C (41°F to 50°F). While the winters are cooler, they are not extremely cold, thanks in part to the city’s high elevation.

Rainfall remains limited during the winter months, with December being the wettest of the three winter months, receiving around 40 to 50 millimeters (1.6 to 2 inches) of rain. Clear skies and sunny days are common during this time, making it a popular season for tourists.

Spring in Sanaa (March – May): Spring in Sanaa sees a gradual warming of temperatures as the city transitions to the hot summer months. Daytime highs range from 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F), with an increase in dryness as the season progresses. The arid conditions become more pronounced, and rainfall is limited, with totals dropping to around 10 to 20 millimeters (0.4 to 0.8 inches) per month.

Sanaa’s spring is a time of flowering plants and green landscapes due to the earlier rainfall in the autumn. However, as the season advances, the vegetation starts to wither, and the city’s surroundings take on a drier appearance.

Precipitation and Humidity:

According to existingcountries, Sanaa is known for its extreme aridity and minimal rainfall. The city receives an average annual precipitation of only about 170 millimeters (6.7 inches). The majority of this rainfall occurs during the autumn and winter months, with October and December being the wettest months.

Humidity levels in Sanaa are generally low throughout the year, contributing to the arid and desert-like conditions. The dry air helps moderate the perceived temperature during the summer, making the intense heat more tolerable.

Geographical Factors:

The geographical factors that influence Sanaa’s climate are its high elevation within the Yemeni Highlands and its location in a valley. The city’s elevation, which is around 2,200 meters (7,200 feet) above sea level, significantly affects its climate by moderating temperatures, especially during the summer. The surrounding mountains, including the Jabal an-Nabi Shu’ayb, help shield the city from extreme weather systems and contribute to the limited rainfall.

The valley in which Sanaa is situated has a significant impact on the city’s temperatures and wind patterns. During the daytime, warm air rises from the valley floor, causing temperatures to increase. At night, cool air descends, resulting in lower nighttime temperatures.

Climatic Challenges:

Sanaa’s arid desert climate presents several challenges for its residents and the region as a whole. The limited rainfall and water resources pose challenges for agriculture and water supply, leading to water scarcity issues in the region. Additionally, the extreme heat during the summer months can be physically taxing, necessitating precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses.


In conclusion, Sanaa, Yemen, experiences a desert climate characterized by high temperatures, arid conditions, and minimal rainfall. Its geographical location in the Yemeni Highlands and its high elevation play a crucial role in moderating temperatures and influencing its weather patterns. While the summers are hot and dry, the city experiences a more temperate climate during the autumn, winter, and spring months. Despite its arid climate and challenges related to water scarcity, Sanaa’s unique climate contributes to its distinctive cultural heritage and way of life in this ancient city.

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