Intellicast's Climate Guide To South America

FAR NORTHERN TROPICAL LOWLANDS
(Venezuela, Colombia, Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana, Caracas, Paramaribo, Cayenne, Georgetown, Cartagena)

The tropical lowlands of northern South America enjoy warm temperatures year round with seasons marked by frequent rainfall. The rainy season over these regions coincides with summer over the Northern Hemisphere. Rainfall begins to increase in May and peaks in most areas during July or August. Rain typically comes in the form of heavy showers and thunderstorms that form during the afternoon hours. Thunderstorm activity normally diminishes after sunset. Often times, light rain or drizzle can linger through the summer night. By September, rainfall decreases rapidly, leading to a stretch of drier sunnier weather from October through March. Although temperature differences through the year are quite small compared to mid-latitudes there are some noticeable changes. The warmest time of the year comes just before the rainy season in March or April, when daytime high temps frequently exceed 32°C (90°F) with high humidity. A second peak in temperature may occur directly after the rainy season in October. Normally temperatures will be between 28-31°C (82-88°F) during the heart of the rainy season. Overnight low temperatures are generally around 24°C (75°F) but may dip into the upper teens-lower 20s °C (65-70°F) during the dry season.

Bogota, Columbia

Month
Record Low
Normal Low Normal High Record High Average Rainfall Average # Of Rain Days
January 40°F
4°C
48°F
9°C
67°F
19°C
74°F
23°C
2.3 inches
58 mm
6
February 42°F
6°C
49°F
9°C
68°F
20°C
75°F
24°C
2.6 inches
66 mm
7
March 42°F
6°C
50°F
10°C
67°F
19°C
75°F
24°C
4.0 inches
102 mm
13
April 45°F
7°C
51°F
11°C
67°F
19°C
75°F
24°C
5.8 inches
147 mm
20
May 45°F
7°C
51°F
11°C
66°F
19°C
74°F
23°C
4.5 inches
114 mm
17
June 44°F
7°C
51°F
11°C
65°F
18°C
72°F
22°C
2.4 inches
61 mm
16
July
44°F
7°C
50°F
10°C
64°F
18°C
72°F
22°C
2.0 inches
51 mm
18
August 44°F
7°C
50°F
10°C
65°F
18°C
72°F
22°C
2.2 inches
56 mm
16
September 44°F
7°C
49°F
9°C
66°F
19°C
73°F
23°C
2.4 inches
61 mm
13
October 43°F
7°C
50°F
10°C
66°F
19°C
73°F
23°C
6.3 inches
160 mm
20
November 44°F
7°C
50°F
10°C
66°F
19°C
73°F
23°C
4.7 inches
119 mm
16
December 40°F
4 °C
49°F
9°C
66°F
19°C
73°F
23°C
2.6 inches
66 mm
15


TROPICAL NORTH INCLUDING THE AMAZON RIVER BASIN
(Northern Brazil, Eastern Peru, Eastern Equator, Manaus, Iquitos, Pacallpa, Santarem, Teresina)

The Amazon region is similar to the northern tropical lowlands except the rainy season coincides with the Southern Hemisphere summer. The Amazon region lights up with tremendous thunderstorms during the afternoon hours from November through April. The dry season is by no means void of rainfall, but shower activity is much less in comparison to the summer rainy season. There is little temperature change year round in comparison to mid-latitude locations. The hottest days with temperatures exceeding 34°C (93°F) occur just prior to and after the rainy season. Eastern portions of the Brazilian tropics can experience the most oppressive heat. Teresina, often experiences a period of extreme heat with readings between 36-41°C (97-106°F), most common from October into early December. Winter months (mid-dry season) are typically warm across the entire region with high temperature readings ranging from 29-33°C (84-91°F).

On occasion, cold air from the southern mid-latitudes can infiltrate the central and western portions of the region. The cool southerly winds (cold air arrives on southerly winds in the Southern Hemisphere) bring extensive low cloudiness, light rain, and drizzle to portions of the region for one to three days. High temperatures during these cool waves may remain in the low-mid 20s °C (70s °F). These events are fairly rare but happen more frequently than in similar latitudes over North America. Powerful cold waves moving south into the USA are dissipated as they move into the tropics by the warm Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean waters. Cold air in South America is not nearly as extreme as North America but is not dissipated as quickly due to the large extent of land over the tropics.

NORTHEAST COASTAL BRAZIL
(Recife, Maceio, Natal, Fortaleza)

The northeast coast of Brazil is known for its wonderful climate and spectacular beaches. This region is warm and humid year round with no drastic temperature changes. Seasons are separated by dry and rainy periods much like the remainder of the tropical north. The rainy season generally runs from March through August. Rain typically falls at night in the form of light to moderate showers. Thunderstorms are quite rare on the northeast coast. Temperatures are typically between 28-31°C (82-88°F) year round. Occasionally temperatures will reach 32-34°C (90-93°F), especially toward Fortaleza.

BRAZILIAN HIGHLANDS
(Brasilia, Goiania, Belo Horizonte, Uberaba)

Brazil's capital, Brasilia, lies within the hills and mountains of the eastern interior highlands. This region is clearly marked by wet and dry periods. The dry winter season, which runs from May to September, is typically pleasant with warm sunny days and cool clear nights. Occasionally, cold fronts from the south bring brief cooler periods and a few showers during the winter months, otherwise little or no rain falls during this period. Even during cool spells, high temps are rarely below 21°C (70°F) but nights can be surprisingly cold. On rare occasions, frost and freezing conditions occur. The summer wet season (October-April) is marked by high humidity and frequent rainfall. Heavy showers and thunderstorms form during the afternoon and usually dissipate during the late evening hours. Light rain showers or drizzle can last into the night on some days. Dry spells in the midst of the rainy season do occur but often bring high heat; temperatures can approach or exceed 38°C (100°F).

SOUTHEAST BRAZIL
(Sao Paulo, Rio De Janeiro, Curitiba)

Southeast Brazil has a wide variety of climate systems due to the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and its terrain. This region is rather unique but has some similarities to Florida, USA. Rainfall is quite evenly distributed throughout the year. The fall and winter seasons bring occasional frontal passages with rather sharp temperature contrasts. Often times, frontal systems stall over this area during the winter months producing an extended period of cloudy, wet weather. Coastal areas do not experience any extreme cold but a few rainy cool periods with high temps of 14-18°C (56-64°F) do occur. The interior (around Curitiba) experiences the coolest winter weather and on rare occasions high temps may barely reach 10°C (50°F). On the other hand, very warm sunny periods occur prior to frontal passages during the fall and winter months. Temperatures can soar above 32°C (90°F) even during the winter months. Anyone planning an extended stay to this region of Brazil during the winter should prepare for these possible extremes.

The spring and summer months are very similar to the Gulf Coast states of the United States. Days are very warm to hot and humid with hazy sunshine. Scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms are common. Cold fronts tend to remain south of the region through the summer season and may arrive in a weakened form. Although thunderstorms are usually not severe in nature they can produce prolific rainfall in a short time. The major cities are infamous for traffic problems due to street flooding from heavier afternoon thunderstorm events.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

Month
Record Low
Normal Low Normal High Record High Average Rainfall Average # Of Rain Days
January 60°F
16°C
73°F
23°C
84°F
29 °C
102°F
39°C
4.9 inches
125 mm
13
February 63°F
17°C
73°F
23°C
85°F
29°C
98°F
37°C
4.8 inches
122 mm
11
March 64°F
18°C
72°F
22°C
83°F
28°C
97°F
36°C
5.1 inches
130 mm
12
April 60°F
16°C
69°F
21°C
80°F
27°C
94°F
34°C
4.2 inches
107 mm
10
May 56°F
13°C
66°F
19°C
77°F
25°C
95°F
35°C
3.1 inches
79 mm
10
June 52°F
11°C
64°F
18°C
76°F
24°C
90°F
32°C
2.1 inches
53 mm
7
July
52°F
11°C
63°F
17°C
75°F
24°C
91°F
33°C
1.6 inches
41 mm
7
August 53°F
12°C
64°F
18°C
76°F
24°C
93°F
34°C
1.7 inches
43mm
7
September 50°F
10°C
65°F
18°C
75°F
24
°C
100°F
38°C
2.6 inches
66 mm
11
October 57°F
14°C
66°F
19°C
77°F
25°C
102°F
39°C
3.1 inches
79 mm
13
November 59°F
15°C
68°F
20°C
79°F
26°C
100°F
38°C
4.1 inches
104 mm
13
December 56°F
13°C
71°F
22°C
82°F
28°C
102°F
39°C
5.4 inches
137 mm
14

 

FAR SOUTHERN BRAZIL
(Florianopoli, Porto Allegre, Santa Maria)

The far southern portion of Brazil is similar in many ways to southeast Brazil except it has more extreme weather. Southern Brazil is effected more by mid-latitude storm systems than any other portion of the country. Thus, the weather tends to be more changeable from season to season. Frontal systems and areas of low pressure can effect the region at any time of the year. However, cold fronts that approach during the summer months tend to stall or dissipate over the area. Winter days average mild with many sunny periods. Wet weather during the winter normally arrives with cold air. Snow is quite rare but can occur during extreme events over the higher elevations of the interior. During the spring, warmer and more humid weather arrives but can be offset by occasional strong cold fronts from the south. Fronts during the spring may be proceeded by thunderstorms that can be quite strong. By summer the weather is very warm and humid. Even coastal areas experience spells of extreme heat with high temperatures above 35°C (95°F). Scattered showers and thunderstorms erupt from the afternoon heat and humidity and are common from late spring through the summer.

FARAGUAY
(Asuncion, Concepcion, Mariscal Estigariba)

Overall, Paraguay is a fairly tropical nation. The spring and summer seasons are hot and humid. Most days are sunny but frequently end with scattered showers and thunderstorms. Thunderstorms can be quite intense during the spring and often form at night. Fall and especially winter are rather changeable. Cold fronts do penetrate into Paraguay during the cooler months every few weeks, bringing rain and sometimes windy conditions. In between frontal passages, fall and winter days are warm and sunny.

NORTHERN ARGENTINA LOWLANDS
(Tucuman, Santiago Del Estero, Iguazu, Posadas, Resistencia, Corrientes)

The climate of northern Argentina is highly variable due to the wide range of elevation. In this section the focus is on the lowland areas of northern Argentina. Please read the section on western Argentina to learn about the mountainous regions of northern Argentina. The lowland areas experience very hot, humid summers and generally mild, dry winters. Rainfall is heaviest during the summer months and comes in the form of afternoon showers and thunderstorms. The unrelenting summer sunshine can send temps above 40°C (104°F). Winters are changeable as cold fronts from the south pass across the area. Days preceding a cold front passage can be summer-like. Cold spells are usually brief and normally last three to four days at a time. The worst weather usually occurs for the first day or two after the front passes when strong, cold southerly winds invade the region along with showers or drizzle. High temps during the strongest cold spells can struggle to reach 5-10°C (40-50°F). Snow is very rare over the lowlands and is normally limited to the increasingly higher elevations as one approaches the Andes.

CENTRAL ARGENTINA AND URUGUAY
(Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Rosario, Santa Fe, Mar Del Plata, Montevideo, Punta del Este, Colonia Sacremento)

Central Argentina is home to the capital Buenos Aires and many other large and industrialized cities. The region also boasts a sucessful agricultural business with crops grown on the Pampas south and west of the capital. Located in the mid-latitudes, the weather is naturally changeable in this region. However, the overall climate is very suitable for farming with ample sunshine and sufficient rainfall. Winters are cool to mild and summers are very warm and humid. As can be expected, fall and spring can swing back and forth between warm and cool spells. Rainfall is fairly uniform throughout the year but is a little heavier during the summer. Annual rainfall is heaviest near the coast and decreases gradually further inland. Rain during the late spring and summer usually arrives in the form of brief heavy showers and thunderstorms. More general rainfall occurs the remainder of the year as cold fronts and storm systems move through. Although cold spells during the winter often send nighttime temperatures below freezing, snow is quite rare. In most winters, a few light snowfalls occur over inland areas. Snow is extremely rare near the coast.

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA

Month
Record Low
Normal Low Normal High Record High Average Rainfall Average # Of Rain Days
January 43°F
6°C
63°F
17°C
85°F
29°C
104°F
40°C
3.1 inches
79 mm
7
February 40°F
4°C
63°F
17°C
83°F
28°C
103°F
39°C
2.8 inches
71 mm
6
March 39°F
4°C
60°F
16°C
79°F
26°C
99°F
37°C
4.3 inches
109 mm
7
April 28°F
-2°C
53°F
12°C
72°F
22°C
97°F
36°C
3.5 inches
89mm
8
May 25°F
-5°C
47°F
8°C
64°F
18°C
84°F
29°C
3.0 inches
76 mm
7
June 23°F
-5°C
41°F
5°C
57°F
14°C
77°F
25°C
2.4 inches
61 mm
7
July
22°F
-6°C
42°F
6°C
57°F
14°C
84°F
29°C
2.2 inches
56 mm
8
August 27°F
-3°C
43°F
6°C
60°F
16 °C
87°F
31°C
2.4 inches
61 mm
9
September 28°F
-2
°C
46°F
8°C
64°F
18
°C
86°F
30
°C
3.1 inches
79 mm
8
October 28°F
-2
°C
50°F
10°C
69°F
21°C
91°F
33°C
3.4 inches
86 mm
9
November 36°F
2°C
56°F
13°C
76°F
24°C
95°F
35°C
3.3 inches
84 mm
9
December 39°F
4°C
61°F
16°C
82°F
28°C
102°F
39°C
3.9 inches
99 mm
8


PATAGONIA - SOUTHERN ARGENTINA
(Bahia Blanca, Trelew, Comodoro Rivadavia, Rio Negro, Nequen, Rio Gallegos, Ushuaia)

Much of Patagonia has a very dry climate considering its latitude. The great Andes mountains to the west limit the moisture flow into the region. Powerful storm systems that move into the westward facing mountains on the Chilean side bring tremendous rainfall to that region; then become moisture-starved as they cross the mountains into Argentina. However, extensive cloud cover remains from these storm systems and areas south of Comodoro Rivadavia to Rio Gallegos experience many cloudy days. The parched, windy landscape that dominates much of Patagonia quickly turns into the infamously stormy region know to early explorers as Cape Horn. Tierra del Fuego is the far southern extent of Patagonia that runs from the Straight of Magellan to Cape Horn. Tierra del Fuego experiences cool windy summers and stormy cold winters. Snow is very common during the winter over southern Patagonia (especially Tierra del Fuego) but occurs only on occasion over the drier north. Patagonia is generally considered a cool region but can be surprisingly hot at times. During the summer, winds sinking down the slopes of the Andes heat the air rapidly. It is not uncommon to have days with temperatures exceeding 38°C (100°F) over northern portions of Patagonia near Bahia Blanca during theses downslope wind events. Downslope winds occur over southern Patagonia, but the strong winds they bring put an edge on the mild temperatures. Strong winds are common over southern Patagonia but can be especially strong during the spring. Rio Gallegos, near the southern coast, experiences many days with winds exceeding 50 mph.

WESTERN ARGENTINA
(Salta, Jujuy, Mendoza, San Juan, Barioloche)

Western Argentina spans a great distance north-south but is in a category of its own due to the great Andes mountains that line the border with Chile. This region boasts everything from green tropical slopes in the north near Salta to ski slopes in Barioloche. Overall, the climate of western Argentina is dry with many sunny days. Winter storms bring more rain and snow to the southern mountains near Bariloche, while the north has more rainfall during the summer months. The weather is more consistent in the south and changes are more on a seasonal basis. On the other hand, the north can experience very sharp changes in weather in a matter of hours, mainly during the winter months. In the midst of winter, Salta in the north may have a spell of temperatures over 30°C (86°F) then struggle to reach 5°C (40°F) a day latter. These sharp temperature falls in the north are usually accompanied by rain or snow but are fairly short lived. The winter cold of the south is quite unrelenting but not as harsh as similar latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. Snowfall is frequent enough to support a healthy ski industry in the southern mountains. The spring and summer seasons bring mild but occasionally windy weather to the southern mountains. Summers in the north can be very hot up to 6,000 ft. It is quite common for temperatures to exceed 38°C (100°F) during the spring and summer months. Thunderstorms often develop over the central and northern mountains during spring and summer afternoons. Hikers or any visitors to the mountains should watch the skies closely so they will not be caught in the middle of an afternoon storm.

COASTAL PERU AND NORTHERN CHILE

Much of coastal Peru and northern Chile are considered desert. Rain may not fall for years from the southern Peruvian coast southward into the Atacama desert of northern Chile. This region is located in the tropics but the South Pacific water temperatures are cool in this area. The cool marine air stabilizes the environment preventing the development of afternoon showers and thunderstorms that are common at similar latitudes. However, large areas of low clouds and fog develop offshore and blanket the coastal areas. Although, virtually rain-free the climate is very cloudy and quite cool considering the latitude. The plus side is that fish thrive in the nutrient-rich cool water that supports a booming fishing industry. Fall and winter are cloudy and occasionally some light drizzle occurs during the morning hours. Temperatures during the fall and winter are normally between 17-21°C ( 64-70°F) along the coast. Spring and summer offer more sunshine but completely clear skies are rare. Summer temperatures range between 23-27°C (73-81°F). During the summer, tremendous thunderstorms develop over the Andes mountains and Amazon jungle to the east. On rare occasion, a few showers will make it to the coast if the mountain storms are particularly intense. The far northern coast of Peru, along the border with Ecuador, has a slightly warmer and wetter climate than the remainder of the region. Showers and thunderstorms will clip the northern coast during the summer and daytime temperatures can be more uncomfortable as heat combines with high sun angles and humidity. Every three to six years the waters off the coast of Peru warm. This warming known as El Nino has a massive impact on the local climate. The warmer waters dissipate the low clouds and fog leading to more sunshine and warmer air temperatures. The warmer air temperatures, in turn, create instability leading to shower and thunderstorm development. The now desert coast of Peru turns very wet. The greatest impact in terms of rainfall is felt north of Lima (the capital of Peru) but all areas are much warmer. Flooding and devastation to the fishing industry make El Nino an unwelcome event to the area.

LIMA, PERU

Month
Record Low
Normal Low Normal High Record High Average Rainfall Average # Of Rain Days
January 59°F
15°C
66°F
19°C
82°F
32°C
89°F
32°C
0.1 inches
3 mm
1
February 59°F
15°C
67°F
19°C
83°F
33°C
92°F
33°C
0.0 inches
0 mm
0
March 61°F
16°C
66°F
19°C
83°F
33°C
91°F
33°C
0.0 inches
0 mm
0
April 56°F
13°C
63°F
17°C
80°F
34°C
93°F
34°C
0.0 inches
0 mm
0
May 52°F
11°C
60°F
16°C
74°F
29°C
84°F
29°C
0.2 inches
5 mm
1
June 49°F
9°C
58°F
14°C
68°F
27°C
81°F
27°C
0.2 inches
5 mm
1
July
49°F
9°C
57°F
14°C
67°F
19°C
81°F
27°C
0.3 inches
8 mm
1
August 50°F
10°C
56°F
13°C
67°F
19°C
81°F
27°C
0.3 inches
8 mm
2
September 51°F
11
°C
57°F
14°C
68°F
20
°C
78°F
26
°C
0.3 inches
8 mm
1
October 53°F
12°C
58°F
14°C
71°F
22°C
79°F
26°C
0.1 inches
3 mm
0
November 51°F
11°C
60°F
16°C
74°F
23°C
85°F
29°C
0.1 inches
3 mm
0
December 56°F
13°C
62°F
17°C
78°F
26°C
87°F
31°C
0.0 inches
0 mm
0



SANTIAGO, CHILE

Month
Record Low
Normal Low Normal High Record High Average Rainfall Average # Of Rain Days
January 43°F
6°C
53°F
12°C
85°F
29°C
96°F
36°C
0.1 inches
3 mm
0
February 43°F
6°C
52°F
11°C
84°F
29°C
98°F
37°C
0.1 inches
3 mm
0
March 38°F
3°C
49°F
9°C
80°F
27°C
94°F
34°C
0.2 inches
5 mm
1
April 33°F
1°C
45°F
7°C
74°F
23°C
88°F
31°C
0.5 inches
13 mm
1
May 27°F
-3°C
41°F
5°C
65°F
18°C
87°F
31°C
2.5 inches
64 mm
5
June 26°F
-3°C
37°F
3°C
58°F
14°C
80°F
27°C
3.3 inches
84 mm
6
July
24°F
-4°C
37°F
3°C
59°F
15°C
81°F
27°C
3.0 inches
76 mm
6
August 26°F
-3°C
39°F
4°C
62°F
17°C
85°F
29°C
2.2 inches
56 mm
5
September 31°F
-1
°C
42°F
6°C
66°F
19
°C
88°F
31
°C
1.2 inches
31 mm
3
October 32°F
0 °C
45°F
7°C
72°F
22°C
92°F
15°C
0.6 inches
15 mm
3
November 37°F
3°C
48°F
9°C
78°F
26°C
97°F
36°C
0.3 inches
8 mm
1
December 36°F
2°C
51°F
11°C
83°F
28°C
99°F
37°C
0.2 inches
5 mm
0

COASTAL AREAS OF ECUADOR AND COLOMBIA

The coast of Colombia and Ecuador resemble their deep tropical latitudes unlike the cooler coastal areas to the south in Peru. Basically two seasons exist in this region...a rainy season and a dry season. The separation between the dry and rainy seasons becomes less distinct over the central coast of Colombia towards the border with Panama. The rainy season in Ecuador coincides closely with the Southern Hemisphere summer, while the rainy season over Caribbean coast of Colombia occurs during the Northern Hemisphere summer.

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