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Climate - United Arab Emirates

Temperature, rainfall, prevailing weather conditions, when to go, what to pack

United States version (°F - inches - feet). See also the metric version (°C - mm - meters)

Flag - United Arab Emirates

Map - United Arab Emirates

The UAE have a desert climate, with very mild winters and hot and sunny summers, when the humidity of the Persian Gulf makes the heat unbearable. The annual precipitation is almost everywhere below 4 inches, and is concentrated in the winter months. The rains are rare but occur in the form of showers or downpours, which sometimes can be intense.
The United Arab Emirates are seven, almost all overlooking the Persian Gulf (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain), and one overlooking the Gulf of Oman (Fujairah). The biggest emirate, which also includes the capital, is Abu Dhabi, even though the most famous, because of its futuristic buildings and modern tourist resorts, is Dubai.
In Dubai, the average temperature goes from 65 degrees Fahrenheit in January (so we are at the boundary between the subtropical and tropical climate), to around 95 °F in July and August.
Here are the average temperatures of Dubai.
Dubai average temperatures
Dubai J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 57 59 63 68 75 79 82 86 81 73 66 61
Max (°F) 73 75 81 90 99 100 104 106 100 95 88 79

In a year, only 3.9 inches of rain fall, most of which between December and March. In Abu Dhabi, still on the coast but more to the west, it rains even less, around 2 inches per year.
Here is the average precipitation in Dubai.
Average precipitation Dubai
Dubai J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (in) 0.4 1.4 1.0 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.6 3.9
Days 2 4 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 14

The sea is warm enough for swimming all year round, although from January to March it drops to 73 °F; in summer it gets very warm, so that it exceeds 85 °F from June to October, so as to allow long baths. On the Gulf of Oman, in winter the sea is a bit warmer than in the Persian Gulf.
Sea temperature Dubai
Dubai J F M A M J J A S O N D
Sea (°F) 73 73 73 77 84 88 90 91 90 88 82 77

Winter in the Emirates, from December to February, is very mild, or pleasantly warm, the maximum temperatures ranging from 72/77 °F. Sometimes, especially in January, a bit of cold air from the north can lower the night temperatures to around 45/46 °F, and the daytime temperatures to around 59 °F.
Summer is very hot and sunny, with daytime temperatures ranging from 105 °F to 110 °F between June and September, and with the wind from the Persian Gulf that brings moist air from the sea, making the heat sweltering. Even the months of May and October are hot, with highs around 95/100 °F. The highest recorded temperatures are around 120 °F on the coast, and even more in the interior.
However, luckily the buildings are air-conditioned.

Abu Dhabi

In the northeast, the Al Hajar Mountains, which separate the coast of the Persian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman, the climate is still desert, although in the winter months it rains a bit more often than in plain. The temperatures do not drop much compared with the plain, if not above 3,300 feet, where it can get cold in winter, while in summer the heat is more bearable.
The south of the Emirates, in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, is occupied by the vast sand expanse of the Rub al-Khali, and is almost uninhabited except in the oases, such as that of Liwa, and near oil and gas extraction facilities. Here the climate is similar to that of the coast, and even hotter in summer, but the air is drier because of the greater distance from the sea.


All year round, but especially in spring, the United Arab Emirates may be affected by strong winds, which can bring dust and sand storms.

When to go

The best time to visit the United Arab Emirates is winter, from December to February, which is a pleasant and sunny season. Thus you will avoid the oppressive heat of the long summer months.
For a beach vacation, the best months are March and November (with a preference for November, because the sea is warmer), because when it gets too hot, even sunbathing can be a challenge.

What to pack

In winter, light clothes for the day, sweater and jacket for the evening and for cool days, scarf for the wind.
In summer: lightweight clothes, loose-fitting and made of natural fabric (cotton or linen), desert turban, sweatshirt and scarf for air conditioned places. For the reef, equipment for snorkeling, water shoes or rubber soled shoes. For women, it is best to avoid shorts and miniskirts outside tourist resorts.

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Metric version (°C)
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