Geography & Climate

Bangladesh is located in the low-lying Ganges-Brahmaputra River Delta or Ganges Delta. This delta is formed by the confluence of the Ganges (local name Padma or Pôdda), Brahmaputra (Jamuna or Jomuna), and Meghna rivers and their respective tributaries. The Ganges unites with the Jamuna (main channel of the Brahmaputra) and later joins the Meghna to eventually empty into the Bay of Bengal. The alluvial soil deposited by these rivers has created some of the most fertile plains in the world. Bangladesh has 58 trans-boundary rivers, making water issues politically complicated to resolve – in most cases as the lower riparian state to India. Most parts of Bangladesh are less than 12 metres (39 ft) above the sea level, and it is believed that about 50% of the land would be flooded if the sea level were to rise by 1 metre (3 ft).

The highest point in Bangladesh is in Mowdok range at 1,052 metres (3,451 ft) in the Chittagong Hill Tracts to the southeast of the country. A major part of the coastline comprises a marshy jungle, the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world and home to diverse flora and fauna, including the Royal Bengal Tiger. In 1997, this region was declared endangered.

Straddling in the Tropic of Cancer, Bangladeshi climate is tropical with a mild winter from October to March, a hot, humid summer from March to June. A warm and humid monsoon season lasts from June to October and supplies most of the country’s rainfall. Natural calamities, such as floods, tropical cyclones, tornadoes, and tidal bores occur almost every year, combined with the effects of deforestation, soil degradation and erosion. Cox’s Bazar, south of the city of Chittagong, has a beach that stretches uninterrupted over 120 kilometres (75 mi).

In September 1998 Bangladesh saw the most severe flooding the modern world has seen. As the Brahmaputra, Ganges and Meghna split over and swallowed 300,000 houses, 6,000 miles (9,700 km) of road and 1,600 miles (2,600 km) of embankmennt1,000 people were killed and 30 million more were made homeless with 135,000 cattle killed, 50 square kilometres of land destroyed and 11,000 km of roads damaged or destroyed. 66% of the country was underwater. There were several reasons for the severity of the flooding. Firstly, there were unusually high monsoon rains. Secondly, the Himalayas shed off an equally unusually high amount of melt water that year. Lastly, trees that usually intercept rain water were cut down for fire wood or to make space for animals.

Climate of Bangladesh

Bangladesh has a tropical monsoon-type climate, with a hot and rainy summer and a dry winter. January is the coolest month with temperatures averaging near 26 deg C (78 d F) and April the warmest with temperatures from 33 to 36 deg C (91 to 96 deg F). The climate is one of the wettest in the world. Most places receive more than 1,525 mm of rain a year, and areas near the hills receive 5,080 mm ). Most rains occur during the monsoon (June-September) and little in winter (November-February). 

Bangladesh is subject to devastating cyclones, originating over the Bay of Bengal, in the periods of April to May and September to November. Often accompanied by surging waves, these storms can cause great damage and loss of life. The cyclone of November 1970, in which about 500,000 lives were lost in Bangladesh, was one of the worst natural disasters of the country in the 20th century.

Bangladesh has warm temperatures throughout the year, with relatively little variation from month to month. January tends to be the coolest month and May the warmest. In Dhaka the average January temperature is about 19°C (about 66°F), and the average May temperature is about 29°C (about 84°F).

Required clothing: Lightweight cottons and linens throughout the year. Warmer clothes are needed in the evenings during the cool season. Waterproofs are necessary during the monsoon season