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Climate of Peru

The climate in Peru is very diverse, with a large variety of climates and microclimates, including 28 of the 32 world climates. Such a diversity is chiefly conditioned by the presence of the Andes mountains and the cold Humboldt Current.

In general, the climate on the coast is subtropical with very little rainfall. The Andes mountains observe a cool-to-cold climate with rainy summers and very dry winters (Koppen climate classification). The eastern lowlands present an Equatorial climate with hot weather and rain distributed all year long.

The coast

The climate of the coast ranges from warm-semiarid north of 5S to cool-arid south of 8S. Despite the proximity to the Equator (3S18S), the entire coastal region has a marked annual temperature cycle in response to the direct effects of the sea surface temperature. The warmest period (Summer) occurs from January through to March and the coolest period (Winter) from July through to September. Daynight temperature differences increase away from the sea shore.

The coast is chiefly determined by the influence of the cold Humboldt Current, which runs parallel to the Peruvian coast, blocking the possibility of precipitation coming from the Ocean. Should this current be warm instead, the presence of the Andes would suffice for high amounts of orographic precipitation, such as registered in the top north and south part of the South American coastal Andes.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Peru is 112 degrees Fahrenheit.

Northern coast

The northern coast's (3S6S) temperature extremes range from 14C to 38C. Summers are characterized by hot, humid and sunny conditions, with occasional afternoon and nocturnal rainshowers. The farther north, the less arid, due to the Humboldt Current getting less cold as it nears the Equator. Thus, the Tumbes Region, bordering Ecuador, is the only coastal one with regular seasonal precipitation.

Summer rainfall totals rarely exceed 200 mm., save for severe El Nino events, which can provoke major floodings, with precipitations which can be as high as 4000 mm, especially in the northernmost part of the coast. Temperatures range from 2023C at night to 2838C during the day, the highest readings observed over the entire Peruvian coast; the aforementioned Tumbes region and Piura are the hottest. Winter is characterized by warm yet comfortable conditions and absence of rain.

Central and southern coast

In the central and southern coasts (south of 6S) temperature ranges from 8 to 35C and rainfall is scarce with annual totals from 150 mm down to negligible. Summer is characterized by warm, moist and sunny conditions with lows between 18 and 22C and highs between 24 and 30C. Temperatures over 30C are commonly observed less than 10 days per year except at the Ica deserts where summer highs can sometimes reach 35C. Little or no rainfall occurs during the summer. Very rare rainfall events are produced by the leftovers of Andean convection and occur during the night. Summer rainfall totals are generally less than 10 mm.

Winter is characterized by overcast, cool and damp conditions, which keep daytime temperatures cool. Strictly by the coast and a few kilometers inland, winter is determined by an almost permanent layer of fog, which creates garua, a particular mist own to coastal Peru and Chile. In those areas located right by the ocean, the so-called 'rainy season' develops by late May and comes to an end by mid October. Precipitation occurs in the form of nocturnal-morning drizzle and seasonal totals range between 10 and 150 mm. Winter precipitation favors the development of vegetation over particular coastal mountain ranges known as "Lomas". The desert green-up peaks between July and early November.

Temperatures range from 1418C at night and 2229C during the day. Winter highs oscillate between 15 and 23C and the lows between 8 and 15C. Several weeks of persistent overcast skies and highs below 19C are not uncommon between July and September.

Some representative weather station averages:

Piura (north); 55m; annual mean temperature 24.4C; annual mean precipitation 72 mm, Climate type BWh (hot desert).

Lima, (central); 30 m; annual mean temperature 19.2C; annual 15 mm, Climate type BWk .

Lomas de Lachay, Huaral Province in Lima, a unique mist-fed ecosystem.

The Andes

The climate of the Peruvian Andes (clima de Sierra in Spanish) exhibits the largest diversity among the country. Temperature is inversely proportional to altitude, varying from temperate (annual average of 18C) in the low-lying valleys to frigid (annual average below 0C) in the highest elevations. The maximum temperature is often steady throughout the year, the low varying due to the presence of clouds in the rainy season, which help keeping to some extent the daytime heat during the night. In the absence of clouds, nights are much colder.

Precipitation varies in different scales and has a marked seasonality. The rainy season starts in September but peaks between January and March, whereas the MayAugust period is characterized by strong insolation, very dry conditions and cold nights and mornings, which is almost the exact reverse, in terms of insolation, to the coast climate. There is a marked southwest-northeast rainfall gradient with the driest conditions along the southwestern Andes, and the wettest conditions along the eastern slopes . Upon the interaction between the topography and the mean flow, some regions immediately east of the Andes can receive as much as 10000 mm/year. Rainfall is also larger over mountain ranges than over valley floors, since most of the rainfall occurs in the form of afternoon convective storms. Lakes also modulate the distribution and rainfall amounts. Lake Titicaca, for example, induces nocturnal convective storms that produce twice as much rainfall over the lake than over the surrounding terrain. Occasionally thunderstorms can be accompanied by frequent cloud to ground lightning, strong winds and damaging hail, especially during the onset of the rainy season and over higher elevations. Snowfall is frequent above 5000 m during the rainy season, and occasional above 3800 m between May and August.

Some representative averages

Chachapoyas, Peru; 2,435 m; annual mean temperature 15.3C; annual mean precipitation 796 mm, Climate type Cwb.

Cuzco, Peru; 3,249 m; annual mean temperature 12.5C; annual mean precipitation 736 mm, Climate type Cwb.

2009 winter

From April to July 2009, unusually cold weather resulted in the deaths of more than 250 children under the age of five. In June, there were 50,000 suffering from acute respiratory infections, and 4,851 with pneumonia. Between mid April and mid June, 61 children perished. The United Nations Population Fund reported over 13,500 cases of pneumonia, and more than 60,000 cases of respiratory infections. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is distributing blankets and warm clothing. Whereas pneumonia cases resulting in death of infants are the norm during winter, the 2009 winter season was unusual in that it began 12 weeks earlier than usual. More than 80 of the deaths occurred in Puno, Peru, one of the larger cities of the Altiplano lying in the central Andes. The children suffering from malnourishment are the population at greatest risk in an impoverished southern area of Peru lacking health care facilities.

Yehude Simon, presidential Cabinet Chief, reported that 27 million S/ or US$9 million was allotted for Puno and 23,230 vaccine doses were shipped out. Oscar Ugarte, the Health Minister reported that only 234 of these vaccines were administered. Carmen Vildoso, Minister of Women's Affairs is working at developing a program to create solar panel heated walls in residential homes to provide heating.

In June, Percy Zaga Bustinza, Director of Puno's Social Development reported that a new Pinaya health centre would be opening up and also a small hospital in Santa Lucia. UNICEF would like action taken so that the deaths from the predictable cold weather can be prevented. As well preventative measures should be put in place so that the cold weather does not arise in an emergency situation anymore. School hours were modified for the children's school days so they are not out in the coldest part of the day. By the middle of June, livestock and crops had been adversely affected by the cold weather across 92,000 hectares of land. In July 2009, a state of emergency was declared by President of Peru Alan Garcia Perez in 11 regions of Peru: Apurimac, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, Junin, Lima, Moquegua, Pasco, Puno and Tacna. The cold winter weather is expected to end in September.

The lowlands

The eastern lowlands are characterized by the Equatorial climate which feeds the Amazon Rainforest. The climate of this region is hot and rainy most of the year. Temperatures oscillate between 1836C most of the year and rainfall varies between 1000 and 4000 mm per year. South of 8S, a short dry season occurs between June and August. Occasional cold surges that originate over Argentina may lower the temperature to 1015C. These events occur 15 times per year between May and September.

Some representative averages:

Iquitos, Peru; 126 m, annual mean temperature 26.2C; annual mean precipitation 2,853 mm, Climate type Af.

Yurimaguas, Peru; 184 m; annual mean temperature 26.9C; annual mean precipitation 2,047 mm, Climate type Af.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Climate of Peru

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