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South America Climate

The continent of South America is located mostly in the Southern Hemisphere. The climate of South America is predominantly wet and humid. However, the large size of the continent makes the climate of South America varied with each region depending on factors such as geographical location, ocean currents, and winds.

The Amazon River basin has a typical hot and wet climate, suitable for the growth of dense rainforests. The temperatures in the Amazon basin range between 70 to 90 degree Fahrenheit. The snow-capped Andes range, on the other hand, remains colder than tropical lowlands throughout the year.

The desert region of Chile is the driest part of South America. The westerly winds carrying moisture shed their moisture on the western parts of the Andes, thus leaving the eastern portions of mountains with negligible rainfall. The cold Peru Current is responsible for the dry coastal parts of Peru as well as northern Chile. The cold current is less likely to hold moisture than warm currents.

The highest temperatures of South America have been recorded in Gran Chaco in Argentina, with temperatures going up to 110°F. The wettest place on the continent is Quibdo in Colombia that receives an annual rainfall of 350 inches or 890 centimeters.

The four regions of South America which receive heavy rainfall are the Amazon River Basin, coastal parts of French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname, and the southwestern coasts of Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador.

A unique feature of South America's climate is the El Nino. Every two to seven years the cold dry Peru Current weakens and warm waters from the south rush along the coast in a southward direction. The El Nino affects the climate of South America and causes heavy rainfall in the dry parts of South America.

The countries in the northern South America such as Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela have more constant high temperatures and high rainfall throughout the year. The countries in southern South America such as Chile and Argentina have lower temperatures with less rainfall.

Seasons in South America:
  • Spring (September, October, and November)
  • Summer (December, January, and February)
  • Autumn (March, April, and May)
  • Winter (June, July, and August)

Get more information on
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  • Population of South America
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  • South America Mountains

  • Last Updated on: August 23, 2016