5 Different Climatic Regions in India

Climatic Zones of India

India is a vast and diverse country with a wide range of climatic regions. The climatic conditions in India vary greatly due to its geographic location, topography, and the influence of the monsoon winds. The country can be broadly divided into six climatic regions. The tropical rainy region, covering the coastal areas and northeastern states, receives heavy rainfall throughout the year. The tropical semi-arid region, found in central India, has a distinct wet and dry season. The tropical arid region in the northwest is known for its extreme heat and low rainfall. The subtropical humid region in northern India experiences distinct seasons with hot summers and cool winters. The mountainous region, including the Himalayas, has a varied climate with snowfall in higher altitudes. The coastal region experiences high humidity and moderate temperatures due to its proximity to the sea. India’s climatic conditions significantly impact agriculture, flora, fauna, and the daily lives of its people. The monsoon season, in particular, is crucial for the country’s agricultural productivity and water resources.

National Building Code of India

The National Building Code of India (NBC) is a comprehensive document that provides guidelines and standards for the design, construction, and maintenance of buildings in India. It covers various aspects such as structural safety, fire safety, plumbing, electrical systems, and so on.

It recognizes the importance of designing buildings that are responsive to local climatic conditions. It emphasizes the need for proper ventilation, insulation, shading, and energy-efficient design principles to ensure occupant comfort and reduce energy consumption.

Architects, engineers, and designers in India also refer to other resources, such as the Indian Standard Code of Practice for Building and Construction (IS 875) and the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC), for guidance on specific climatic considerations.

These codes and standards take into account various climatic factors such as temperature, humidity, wind, rainfall, and solar radiation to guide the design and construction of buildings suitable for different regions of the country.

It is important for professionals in the building industry to consider the local climate and consult the relevant codes and standards to ensure that buildings are designed and constructed in a manner that is appropriate for the specific climatic conditions of the region.

National Building Code 2016 in Volume-2 Part-8 demonstrates five climatic zones in India based on mean maximum temperature and mean maximum humidity. Below shows the different climatic zones of India such as follows.

Five Different Climatic Zones

Hot and Dry Climate

The hot and dry climate zone in India is primarily found in the northwestern region, particularly in the state of Rajasthan and parts of Gujarat. This region experiences extreme heat and low rainfall, making it one of the hottest and driest areas in the country.

During summers, temperatures in the hot and dry zone can soar above 45°C (113°F) or even higher, creating harsh conditions. The scorching heat is a result of the desert-like landscape and the influence of the Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert. The lack of water bodies and vegetation contributes to the aridity of the region.

The hot and dry climate zone has a marked contrast between day and night temperatures. While the days are extremely hot, the nights can be relatively cooler due to radiation heat loss in the absence of cloud cover.

Rainfall in this region is scarce and erratic. The monsoon rains have a limited impact here, and the area receives only a small fraction of the total rainfall compared to other regions of India. The arid conditions have led to the development of unique desert ecosystems and adaptations of flora and fauna to survive in such harsh environments.

Human settlements in the hot and dry zone have adapted to the extreme climate, with architecture featuring thick walls, small windows, and courtyards for thermal comfort. Traditional water management systems such as step wells and reservoirs have been used to collect and store scarce water resources.

Despite the challenging climate, the hot and dry zone attracts tourists with its historical forts, palaces, and unique desert landscapes. The Thar Desert is particularly known for its sand dunes, camel safaris, and vibrant cultural festivities.

Warm and Humid Climate

The warm and humid climate zone in India is primarily found in the coastal regions and the southern parts of the country. This region experiences high temperatures combined with elevated levels of humidity throughout the year.

The warm and humid climate zone is characterized by hot summers and relatively milder winters. Average temperatures range from 25°C to 35°C (77°F to 95°F), with high levels of humidity often exceeding 70%. The coastal areas are influenced by the sea breeze, which provides some relief from the heat.

The region receives significant rainfall due to the influence of the monsoon winds. The southwest monsoon, which arrives between June and September, brings heavy rainfall to the coastal areas, especially the western coast and the northeastern states. The northeast monsoon, which occurs between October and December, brings additional rainfall to the southeastern coast.

The warm and humid climate zone supports lush vegetation and dense forests. The Western Ghats, running parallel to the western coast, receive high levels of rainfall, resulting in rich biodiversity and numerous wildlife sanctuaries. Agriculture flourishes in this region, with crops like rice, coconut, spices, and tropical fruits being prominent.

The warm and humid climate has a significant impact on the lifestyle and architecture of the region. Traditional houses often feature high ceilings, large windows, and verandas to promote natural ventilation and airflow. Additionally, clothing choices prioritize lightweight and breathable fabrics to cope with the heat and humidity.

The warm and humid climate zone is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors with its beautiful beaches, backwaters, and scenic landscapes. States like Kerala, Goa, and Tamil Nadu are known for their tropical beauty, cultural heritage, and diverse cuisine.

Temperate Climate

The temperate climate zone in India is primarily found in the northern regions, particularly in the Himalayan foothills and the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and parts of Jammu and Kashmir. This region is characterized by moderate temperatures and distinct seasons.

The temperate climate zone experiences relatively mild summers, with average temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F). Winters, on the other hand, can be quite cold, with temperatures dropping below freezing point. Higher-altitude areas in the Himalayas witness snowfall during winter, making them popular destinations for winter sports and tourism.

The region experiences a pleasant spring and autumn, which are considered the best seasons for outdoor activities. During spring, the valleys and hillsides come alive with colourful blossoms and blooming flowers. Autumn is marked by clear skies, cool temperatures, and the vibrant foliage of trees.

Rainfall in the temperate climate zone is relatively moderate and evenly distributed throughout the year. The monsoon season brings rainfall from June to September, and the region receives a significant amount of snowfall during winter.

The temperate climate zone is known for its picturesque landscapes, including lush green valleys, meandering rivers, and snow-capped peaks. It supports diverse flora and fauna, with numerous national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. The region is also popular for adventure tourism, trekking, and mountaineering.

The architectural style in this region reflects the climatic conditions, with houses featuring sloping roofs, wooden interiors, and fireplaces to provide warmth during the cold winters.

Overall, the temperate climate zone in India offers a refreshing escape from the heat of the plains and provides a pleasant climate throughout the year, attracting both domestic and international tourists.

Cold Climate

India does not have a distinct cold climate zone, as it is predominantly known for its tropical and subtropical climates. However, certain regions in the northernmost part of the country experience cold climatic conditions due to their high altitude and proximity to the Himalayas.

The cold climate zone in India is primarily found in the higher altitudes of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. These areas are characterized by cold temperatures, especially during winter when temperatures often drop below freezing point. The region receives heavy snowfall during winter, transforming it into a winter wonderland and attracting tourists for skiing and snow-related activities.

During summer, the cold climate zone experiences mild temperatures, providing relief from the scorching heat of the plains. The climate in these areas exhibits a significant temperature gradient, with lower temperatures at higher altitudes.

The cold climate zone supports unique ecosystems and is home to diverse flora and fauna. The Himalayas act as a barrier to the cold, dry winds blowing from Central Asia, creating favourable conditions for the growth of alpine vegetation and the habitation of various animal species.

The architectural style in this region is influenced by the cold climate, with houses featuring sturdy construction, sloping roofs to shed snow, and insulation to keep the interiors warm. Traditional wooden houses with intricate designs are commonly seen in these areas.

The cold climate zone offers breathtaking mountain landscapes, picturesque valleys, and serene lakes. It is a popular destination for adventure tourism, trekking, mountaineering, and experiencing the beauty of snow-covered mountains.

While the cold climate zone in India is limited to specific regions, it adds to the country’s geographical diversity and provides unique experiences for travellers seeking cooler climates and snow-covered landscapes.

Composite Climate

The composite climate zone in India is a unique climatic region that combines characteristics of multiple climatic zones. It is primarily found in the central part of the country, covering states like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, and parts of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.

The composite climate zone is characterized by extreme variations in temperature throughout the year. Summers can be hot and dry, with temperatures reaching over 40°C (104°F), while winters can be cool or even cold, with temperatures dropping to single digits. The region experiences distinct seasons, including a hot and dry summer, a monsoon season with heavy rainfall, and a moderate winter.

One of the defining features of the composite climate zone is the presence of a pronounced dry and hot period before the onset of monsoon rains. This transitional period, known as the pre-monsoon or “loo” season, is marked by hot winds and dry conditions.

Architectural design in the composite climate zone focuses on thermal comfort and energy efficiency. Traditional features like thick walls, courtyards, and jalis (intricately carved screens) are incorporated to provide shade, promote natural ventilation, and reduce heat gain. Roof overhangs and shading devices are also common to protect buildings from the harsh sun.

Vegetation in this region includes deciduous trees that shed their leaves during the hot and dry summer, allowing maximum sunlight penetration, and evergreen trees that provide shade during the rest of the year.

The composite climate zone poses unique challenges and opportunities for building design and energy conservation. Sustainable practices such as passive cooling techniques, rainwater harvesting, and the use of locally available materials are encouraged to ensure energy efficiency and occupant comfort.

The composite climate zone offers a diverse experience with its mix of different climatic characteristics. It provides a blend of tropical and arid elements, making it a fascinating and challenging region for architectural and environmental design.

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