Extending over 38 degrees of
latitude, from the tropics to the vecinity of Antarctica, and
from sea level to altitudes of over 20,000 feet, Chile has a wide
variety of climatic conditions. Extreme aridity prevails over
the northern part of the country; the average annual rainfall
in this region is 0.04 inches. Temperatures are moderate along
the coast throughout the year and more extreme inland, especially
in the central basin. The average temperatures for the hottest
(February) and coldest (July) months are 72F and 60F.
Central Chile (30-40 degrees
latitude) has a Mediterranean type of climate, with cool and rainy
winters (April to September) but without a completely dry season.
Average annual precipitation increases substantially and temperatures
decrease toward the south. The average temperatures for the hottest
(January) and coldest (July) months at Santiago are 68 F and 46.6F,
respectively. The average annual precipitation at Santiago is
approximately 15 inches.
The climate of the southern
region is cool and rainy the year round. It is characterized by
abundant low clouds. The average temperature for the warmest (January)
and the coldest (July) months are 57F and 40F respectively.. The
average annual precipitation is 119 inches. The changes of the
snow line on the westward-facing slopes of the Andes can serve
as an indication of the variation in climatic conditions with
latitude and altitude. The line of permanent snow is approximately
18,000 feet in Chile's extreme north. It descends to 14,000 feet
opposite Santiago and to 2,200 feet at Tierra del Fuego.
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