Large parts of Mongolia have recently experienced extreme cold weather, according to Mongolia’s National Agency for Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring. The overnight temperature dropped to minus 50 degrees Celsius in Bayantes soum of the western Mongolian province of Zavkhan, marking the coldest temperature in Mongolia since 2018. At the same time, the agency recorded minus 46.4 degrees Celsius in Sukhbaatar city of Selenge province.
Overnight temperatures in other parts of Mongolia, including the capital Ulaanbaatar, exceeded minus 40 degrees Celsius. Mongolia has a strongly continental climate, characterized by long and frigid winters. A temperature of minus 25 degrees is typical during winter.
Mongolia is highly vulnerable to severe winter conditions and cold waves, known locally as ‘dzud’. National authorities in Mongolia have issued warnings and forecasts for harsh winter conditions and severe cold waves. According to the NAMEM’s dzud risk analysis released on December 2, 2022, about 16 percent of the Mongolian territory is at the highest level of risk. Herders, who make up 80 percent of households in rural Mongolia, are at increased risk of losing their livelihoods in the coming winter season. During the past two dzuds, 25 to 33 percent of the national herd was lost. The critical period to act early and protect herder livelihoods is from January to April 2023.