Varied and alpine climate
Austria is located in the heart of Europe and thus in the temperate or humid-warm climate zone of the northern hemisphere. Due to the country's natural diversity, there are numerous climatic gradations even within the country, which covers only 83,879 square kilometers. Numerous valleys and lakes at different altitudes, the ridge of the Alps and the lowlands in the east make the weather varied, but also difficult to predict.
The western part of Austria north of the Alpine ridge is still influenced by the oceans and is predominantly humid and cool. The lower-lying Vienna Basin in the east of the country separates the Alps from the Carpathians and therefore provides for continental weather with noticeably less precipitation. Summers here are considerably warmer and winters colder. The south of the country is mainly influenced by the Mediterranean with its rainy low pressure areas.
In the alpine mountain regions, which rise to a height of 3,798 meters on the Grossglockner, a climatic classification is rarely possible due to the different altitudes and lake landscapes. At higher situated lakes the air humidity usually increases and fog often occurs. At the mountain edges to the north and also to the south, precipitation levels increase considerably, while the valleys within the Alps usually remain sunny and warm. A real polar climate with year-round temperatures below freezing point only exists near the summits from about 3500 meters altitude.
The average daily maximum temperatures are between 2 and 23 degrees, depending on the season. In some parts of the country the values reach up to 27 degrees during the day. In the colder months, the temperature drops at night to -4°C on a monthly average, depending on the region, with the eastern regions usually being the warmer ones. As usual in Central Europe, temperatures are highest in July and lowest in January. In the high mountains, this period shifts by one month to August or February.
› Duration of daylight and sunshine in Austria
hours of sunshine per day rainy days per month Precipitation in mm/day Relative humidity in % Water temperature Absolute humidity in g/m³ (approx.)
Temperature records of the last 71 years
The hottest temperature measured from 1949 to October 2020 was reported by the Innsbruck weather station. In April 2020 the record temperature of 26.0 °C was reported here. The hottest summer from July to September, based on all 11 weather stations in Austria below 2520 metres altitude, was recorded in 1950 with an average temperature of 18.5 °C. This average temperature will normally be measured every 4 to 6 hours, thus also including the nights. Normally, this value is 16.4 degrees Celsius.
The coldest day in these 71 years was reported by the weather station Villacher Alpe. Here the temperature dropped to -16.7 °C in March 2020. Villacher Alpe lies at an altitude of 2160 meters above sea level. The coldest winter (January to March) was in 1963 with an average temperature of -3.6 °C. In Austria, it is usual to have about 3.9 degrees more at 0.4 °C for this three-month period.
Long-term development of temperatures from 1951 - 2019
In contrast to single record values, a long-term development cannot simply be brought about by all weather stations in the country. Both the number and the locations are constantly changing. A simply calculated average value would give a falsified result. If several measuring stations in particularly cold mountain or coastal regions are added in one year, the average would already decrease as a result of this alone. If a station fails during the summer or winter months, it does not provide any values and falsifies the average again. The subsequent long-term development was therefore reduced to only 3 measuring points in order to have actually comparable data over as long a period as possible.
In the years 1951 to 2019 there were only these 3 weather stations in the whole country, which reported continuous temperature values (Wien, Klagenfurt, Graz). From these weather reports we have created a long-term development that shows the monthly average temperatures. The hottest month in this entire period was 1992 with 22.9 °C. 1956 was the coldest month with an average temperature of -8.9 °C.
The average annual temperature was about 8.7 °C in the years after 1951 and about 10.7 °C in the last years before 2019. So in less than 69 years it has increased by about 2.0 °C. This trend only applies to the selected 3 weather stations in Austria. A considerably more comprehensive evaluation of the global warming
has been provided separately.
More detailed information on global warming with a view by continent can also be found on our topic page on climate change
. Data basis: German Weather Service, individual values averaged and supplemented by own elements.