Thursday 8 June 2023
Climate of Hungary - general characteristics

Hungary is situated between the 45°45'N and 48°35'N latitudes, about halfway between the Equator and the North Pole, in the temperate climatic zone according to the solar climatic classification. Its climate is very erratic. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that Hungary is situated in between 3 climatic zones: the oceanic climate with less varying temperature and more evenly dispersed precipitation; the continental climate with more extreme temperature and relatively moderate precipitation; also, a Mediterranean effect with dry weather in summer, and wet one in winter. For a shorter or longer period of time any of these types can become prevailing. Due to these reasons great differences can occur in the weather of the country, despite of its lower altitudes and relatively small extent.

 1. ábra

Figure: The climatic regions in Hungary (after György Péczely)

The other main determinant is orography. As the country is situated in the Carpathian Basin - more than half of its surface are plains below 200 metres, and the area above 400 metres is less than 2 percent - primarily the effect of the Carpathians should be underlined.

Hungary is about halfway from the ocean to the inner parts of the Eurasian continent. In the summer half-year the dominating air masses are of oceanic origin, in the winter mostly continental ones. The NW-SE distribution of the meteorological variables shows the effect of the Atlantic Ocean, while the SW-NE distribution the effect of the Mediterranean Sea.

Hungary is in the conveyor belt of the Westerlies, due to the location of the country - surrounded by the Alps and the Carpathians - the prevailing wind direction is northwestern, while the southern wind has a secondary maximum.

We cannot classify the climate of Hungary using one of the global climate classifications (e.g. Köppen or Trewartha) to adequately describe the differences within the country. We must find another classification method. This could be done based on the work of a Hungarian climatologist György Péczely, who - taking into account the aridity index and the growing season length - separated 16 climatic zones, from which 12 can be found in Hungary.

Following this classification greater part of the country has a moderately warm - dry climate. The area of the rivers Körös and Maros, the lower part of the river Danube is warm -, dry. The northeastern region of Hungary (Nyírség) is more likely moderately cool - dry, while the nearby Plain of Szatmár is moderately cool - moderately wet. In the Southern Transdanubia region the moderately warm -,moderately dry, the moderately warm - moderately dry, while in the Western Transdanubia the moderately cool - moderately dry, and the moderately cool - moderately wet climate zones are typical. Higher altitudes of our mountains have a cool - moderately dry, and a cool - moderately wet climate, only in the Mountains of Kőszeg near the western borders with Austria we have a cool - wet climate.