Azerbaijan is known for having nine of the 11 existing ecological zones. Much of the country is temperate year-round. Nation-wide the average temperature for the year is 14-15°C (57-59°F). The Caucasus Mountains protect the country from the Arctic air masses that affect Russia in winter while the Caspian Sea shields it from the hot, dry air of Central Asia in the summer. Temperatures in the winter are mild (0-15°C/32-59°F) at lower altitudes and along the coast and drops moderately as you head inland and drastically as you head into the mountains (-20°C/-4°F is possible in the Caucasus Mountains). Summers range from warm to hot (20-40°C/68-104°F) throughout most of the country, although breezes off the Caspian make life pleasant along the coast. Nakhchivan is quite different, high and arid, summers here can easily surpass 40°C (104°F) while winter nights often drop below -20°C (-4°F)...in fact the country's extreme minimum and maximum (-33°C/-27°F & 46°C/115°F) were both recorded in southern Nakhchivan!
Snow is rare in Baku and along the coast in general while common inland and copious in the mountains, where many villages may be cut off during the winter. The southern forests are the wettest part of the country, with plenty of rain in late autumn and early spring. The western central coast is fairly dry. Lankaran receives the most annual precipitation (1600-1800 mm/63-71 in) while the region around Baku averages 600 mm (24 in). Baku is very breezy, much like Chicago or Wellington, most of the year.
The winds formed in Azerbaijan are divided into two parts by origin:
- "Khazri" is the north wind. The strongest wind - speed 35-40 m / sec. Brings cool in the hot summer. It blows from the north-east and north-west;
- "Gilavar" is the south wind. It may blow from the south-eastern and south-west. It is a hot wind. It has warming impact in winter.