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The weather in Peru

Climate of Perú

The climate of 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 (Köppen climate classification). The eastern lowlands present an Equatorial climate with hot weather and rain distributed all year long.

Pacific coast

The climate of the coast ranges from warm-semiarid north of 5°c(thus, very close to the equator) to a climate which is a bit like the Mediterranean (Köppen Csb) climate with an important difference. The winter, although cloudy, cool and very humid, does not have sufficient rainfall to be considered a Köppen C climate.

The coast is chiefly determined by the influence of the cold Humboldt Current, which runs The northern coast's (3°S–6°S) temperature extremes range from 14 to 38 °C (57.2 to 100.4 °F). 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 (7.9 in), save for severe El Niño events, which can provoke major floodings, with precipitations which can be as high as 4,000 mm (157.5 in), especially in the 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 6°S) temperature ranges from 8 to 29 °C (46.4 to 84.2 °F) and rainfall is scarce with annual totals are 150 mm. Summer is characterized by warm, moist and sunny conditions with lows between 18 and 22 °C (64.4 and 71.6 °F) and highs between 24 and 29 °C (75.2 and 84.2 °F). Temperatures over 29 °C (84 °F) are commonly observed less than 10 days per year except at the Ica deserts where summer highs can sometimes reach 35 °C (95 °F). 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 (0.4 in).

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 (0.4 and 5.9 in). 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 14–18 °C (57.2–64.4 °F) at night and 19–21 °C (66.2–69.8 °F) during the day. Winter highs oscillate between 15 and 21 °C (59 and 69.8 °F) and the lows between 8 and 15 °C (46.4 and 59 °F). Several weeks of persistent overcast skies and highs below 19 °C (66.2 °F) are not uncommon between July and September.

Some representative weather station averages:

  • Piura, (north); 55 m (180 ft); annual mean temperature 24.4 °C (75.9 °F); annual mean precipitation 72 mm (2.8 in) Climate type BWh (hot desert).
  • Lima, (central); 30 m (98 ft); annual mean temperature 19.2 °C (66.6 °F); annual 15 mm (0.6 in), Climate type BWk (temperate desert, cold Humboldt Current generates fog).
  • Lomas de Lachay, Huaral Province in Lima, a unique mist-fed ecosystem.

Andean highlands

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 18 °C / 64 °F) in the low-lying valleys to frigid (annual average below 0 °C / 32 °F) 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 May–August 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 (200–500 mm/7.9–19.7 in/year) along the southwestern Andes, and the wettest conditions along the eastern slopes (>1,000 mm/39.4 in/year). Upon the interaction between the topography and the mean flow, some regions immediately east of the Andes can receive as much as 10,000 mm (393.7 in)/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 5,000 m (16,404 ft) during the rainy season, and occasional above 3,800 m (12,467 ft) between May and August.

Some representative averages

  • Chachapoyas, Peru; 2,435 m (7,989 ft); annual mean temperature 15.3 °C (59.5 °F); annual mean precipitation 796 mm (31.3 in).
  • Cuzco, Peru; 3,249 m (10,659 ft); annual mean temperature 12.5 °C (54.5 °F); annual mean precipitation 736 mm (29 in).

Eastern 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 18–36 °C (64.4–96.8 °F) most of the year and rainfall varies between 1,000 and 4,000 mm (39.4 and 157.5 in) per year. South of 8°S, a short dry season occurs between June and August. Occasional cold surges that originate over Argentina may lower the temperature to 10–15 °C (50–59 °F). These events occur 1–5 times per year between May and September.

Some representative averages:

  • Iquitos, Peru; 126 m (413 ft), annual mean temperature 26.2 °C (79.2 °F); annual mean precipitation 2,853 mm (112.3 in).
  • Yurimaguas, Peru; 184 m (604 ft); annual mean temperature 26.9 °C (80.4 °F); annual mean precipitation 2,047 mm (80.6 in).
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