The climate of Bosnia and Herzegovina



The climate of Bosnia and Herzegovina is determined by main climatic factors: the geographical position, the geological base, relief, coverage of the terrain with flora and the vicinity of the Mediterranean. Beside the basic factors there are certain extreme factors which have a great effect on the complete climatic picture of Bosnia and Herzegovina, firstly the currents of the subtropical belt, high air pressure and the sub polar belt, low air pressure which in consequence creates a shift in the polar and tropical air masses. Then there are the air masses of the polar origin, the currents from the Atlantic, cyclones from the Mediterranean and Adriatic Sea and the anti cyclones which come from the continental part of Asia. All of these circulatory processes change and alter the relief which then becomes a modifier. The aforementioned factors divide the climate of Bosnia in Herzegovina into two main climatic regions: south and east, which are divided by the Bihać - Sarajevo - Foča line. In the south region the climate is continental, with cold winters and warm summers. The eastern region has more of a Mediterranean climate with warm summers and humid winters. The line dividing the south and east region is a space of high mountains, plateaus, basins and cliffs with a typical mountain climate. In this area the winters are cold and summers fresh with a higher percentage of rainfall which are evenly spaced throughout the year, while the temperature changes lower with the increase of the above-sea level.

Temperate continental climate covers the area of south Bosnia and the valleys of the rivers Una, Sana, Vrbas, Bosna and Drina from Višegrad. The summers are warm with the average temperature of the air in July ranging from 20° to 22° while the winters are moderately cold with the average temperature of the coldest month of January ranging from -1° to -2°. The average yearly temperature is higher than 10°. The autumn and spring temperatures are even. The absolute highest temperature in the summer can increase to 40°, while the absolute minimal temperature in winter can fall to -35°. The average yearly amount of rainfall ranges from 700 mm in the east to 1500 mm in the west. Wind is very rare and mostly weak, coming from the south and southwest direction.
The mountain climate prevails in the central mountain area of our country. This type of climate is most common in the mountain areas around Oštrelj, Travnik, Sarajevo and Foča. Its characteristics are short and fresh summers, cold and snowy winters. The average temperature in January spanning from -3.5° to -6.8°, in July from 14.8° to 16.9°. The absolute lowest temperature spanning from -24° to -34° and the absolute highest from 30° to 36°. The exceptions are the basins where a temperature inversion occurs. Such places are known as frost points; one of them can be found on the mountain Igman where on 25 January 1963 the measured minimal temperature was -43.5°. The temperature oscillates from 20° to 21°, with autumn being warmer than spring. The rainfall is evenly distributed in the amount of 1200 mm. Fog is very common throughout the year and the coverage of clouds is higher than 50%.

Mediterranean climate is present in the lowland and highland Herzegovina, thus we distinguish 2 types of Mediterranean climate. The area of lowland Herzegovina, the lower stream of Neretva with the surrounding Karst fields lower than 1000 m of the above-sea level: Ljubuški field, Mostar and Stolac. This type of climate of lowland Herzegovina is consequence of the direct flow of sea air. During the winter the Adriatic Sea radiates its summer accumulated warmth, making the winter temperatures higher. The average temperature of Mostar in January is 4.6°, Stolac 4.3°, Ljubuški 4.7°. In the summer the influence of the Adriatic Sea is minor, because of the limestone rocks which when heated change the temperature of this area. The summers are very dry and hot, with temperatures from 20° to 21°. Autumn is warmer than spring. The average absolute minimal temperature spanning from -4.9° to 8.7° while the absolute minimal drops to -17°. Gale is predominant in this area with intervals of northern wind. The calmest month is October, the windiest February. The most rainfall occurs in October with the average amount of 200 mm. Snowfall is a rare occurrence. The yearly amount of rainfall ranges from 1000 to 1500 mm.
Modified Mediterranean climate extends to the area of highland Herzegovina. In this highland Herzegovinian and south-western mountainous area the climate is similar to the mountain climate but with Mediterranean characteristics. The temperature of the air falls with the increase of the above-sea level and the distance from sea. For every 10 km of distance from the sea the temperature drops from 0.6° to 0.8°. The winters are harsh with absolute minimal temperatures of -14° to -25°. The average temperature in January ranges from -1.8° to -6°. The average absolute highest temperature can increase even to 40°. As in lowland Herzegovina, autumn is warmer than spring but the temperature oscillations are higher. Yearly this area sees an 1800 m of rainfall, with gale being very common and strong in the winter and also an increase in cloudiness compared to lowland Herzegovina.


Enes Sarač, direktor Fed. hidrometeorološkog zavoda


Enes Sarač, direktor Fed. hidrometeorološkog zavoda

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