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All over the world the weather changes in daily and yearly patterns. The climate is influenced by thermal and water cycles, air circulation and climatic factors. The climate has a profound influence on all human activities. Tourism shows no difference from this rule. In Poland the most popular travelling months include June-August (summer season), April-early June (spring season) and September-October (autumn season). Skiing season on a smaller scale can be observed between December and February. 

 

Polish climate can be clearly characterised by the great changeability of weather; 6 clear seasons: early spring, spring, summer, autumn, early winter and winter; dominance of the winds from the western sector, the increase of air temperature from the west to the east, the highest precipitation in summer months and spring ground frosts.

 

Meteorological measurements in Poland are carried out by the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management (Polish: Instytut Meteorologii i Gospodarki Wodnej - IMGW) which owns 50 meteorological stations all over Polish territory.

 

Main factors affecting the climate of Poland:

  1. The location in mid-latitudes in the northern hemisphere
  2. The warming influence of the Gulf-stream
  3. The size and distribution of lands and seas (The western part of Poland is under the dominant influence of a maritime climate and eastern part is influenced by a continental climate, which means that more extreme temperatures in winter and summer can be expected in the western part of the country.)
  4. The lowland character of the country
  5. The parallel layout of the mountain ranges in the south of Poland and the height above the sea level (The Carpathians and the Sudeten Mountains protect Poland against tropical air masses from the south of Europe.)
  6. The latitudinal arrangement of the 6 lanes of the relief of the terrain.
  7. The Baltic Sea waters lower the annual air amplitudes and bring an increase of rainfall.
  8. Plant cover.

 

Central Europe, in which Poland is located, is under the influence of the stable barometric centres and air masses. The major air mass at the Polish territory can hint of the weather conditions that can be expected by tourists.

 

Air pressure centres and air masses that affect climate of Poland:

  1. From the Arctic Sea and Greenland arrive to Poland Arctic Air Masses that in winter bring biting frosts, strong winds and snowfall. In autumn and spring, they cause cooling and ground frosts.
  2. From Eastern Europe and Asia arrive Polar Continental Air Masses. They have lower humidity that in winter bring frosts and in summer higher air temperatures. They are noted about 140 days a year.
  3. From the North Atlantic arrive to Poland Polar Maritime Air Masses that have higher humidity and can be characterised by precipitation and fogginess. They are noted about 180 days a year. In winter they bring slight warmings and thawing and in summer cooling.
  4. From North Africa, Asia Manor and South Eastern-Europe arrive Tropical Continental Air Masses that cause droughts, torrid heat and St. Martin’s summer in autumn.
  5. From the region of Azores arrive Tropical Maritime Air Masses. They cause high air temperatures and thunderstorms, sometimes sudden thaws in winter.


The air masses movement is the cause of main Polish climate characteristics. The further we get to the east of Poland in winter, the colder the weather, while the further to the west the warmer. Due to the free movement of the various air masses from the east (continental) and from the west (maritime) the weather is very changeable. For example, in one year winter can be very mild and rainy to become very frosty and dry next year. Summers can be either warm and dry or cold and rainy.

 

Temperature

The mean annual temperature in Poland is 6-8 Celsius degrees. The mean January temperatures are -2 to -5 Celsius degrees. The mean summer temperatures are from 17 to 19 Celsius degrees. In January the isotherms are arranged longitudinally and in July – latitudinally. The Polish cold record measured at a meteorological station in Poland was noted on January 11, 1940 in Siedlce - the thermometer showed exactly -41° C, and it was a measurement made in a closed meteorological cage at a height of 2 m above the ground. The temperature at the ground was probably even lower. The highest temperature in Poland was recorded in Prószków in Opole region in July 1921. It was 40.2° C.

 

Precipitation

The mean total annual precipitation in Poland amounts to about 600mm. The lowest amounts are recorded in the Kuiavian Lakeland (470 mm) while the highest are in the mountains (the Tatras 1700 mm). In Poland dominating rainfall is connected with the movement of atmospheric fronts (the borders of air masses). The most torrential but short rainfalls are during summer that often lead to local floods, other seasons precipitation is more stable but usually also longer lasting.

 

Winds

The winds from the western wind sector dominate and add up to 60% of all winds. In summer north western winds dominate, while in winter south western winds dominate. North and south winds are rarer. A local curiosity can be expected during your Tatra Mountains visits. It is a warm and dry local wind of the fohn type – the “Halny” wind. Wind storms are very rare in Poland.

 

Tourist seasons

There are a few tourists season dates that can be distinguished in Poland. First of all, the tourist seasons in big cities is almost all year round, with greater number of tours in warmer months from April to September or even early October. Bathing season length varies due to location. It the most favourable locations it can last around 100 days a year. Seaside bathing season starts between the 21st of June and the 7th of July and ends between the 21st of August and the 4th of September. Lakes bathing season starts between the 31st of May and the 25th of June and ends between 26th of August and the 14th of September. Skiing season means the conditions with suitable snow cover which on average lasts for 40-50 days a year in the east and 60 to 80 days in the west. In record Mazury Lakeland it can last over 100 days and in mountainous regions even up to 150-200 days. Average climate healing season in Poland lasts 140 days a year. It is the longest in the Lower Silesia Region.

 

Summing up, depending on your chosen location in Poland and your personal temperature preferences the best season for travel date changes. All tourist should always take into consideration that Polish weather is very changeable and they ought to be prepared for warmer and colder version of every season. Nevertheless, ITS DMC Poland professional group coordinators can heartily recommend visiting the country between April and September for the majority of tourists and between December and February for snow enthusiasts.

 

Author: Agnieszka Szwedzińska

Date: 28.09.2021

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