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Land and Resources, Climate

tropical wet climate, savanna climate, semiarid region, northern Brazil, topographic features

The climatic pattern is largely shaped by Brazils tropical location and by topographic features. Most of Brazil has high annual average temperatures, above 22C (72F). Only in the South and in the highest elevations does the average fall below this. In the higher elevations, the seasonal variation in temperature is more marked.

A tropical wet climate characterizes much of northern Brazil, with abundant rainfall and little or no dry season. Temperatures average 25C (77F), with more significant temperature variations between night and day than between seasons. Rainfall averages about 2,200 mm (about 90 in) a year. Over central Brazil rainfall is more seasonal, characteristic of a savanna climate. Eighty percent of the rain falls in summer (October through March), and there are more seasonal variations in temperature. Here rainfall averages about 1,600 mm (about 60 in) a year. In the interior Northeast, seasonal rainfall is even more extreme. The semiarid region receives less than 800 mm (30 in) of rain, which falls in a period of two or three months. In addition to its scarcity and seasonal nature, the rain occasionally fails completely, causing serious drought conditions.

In the Southeast the tropical climate is modified by elevation, with a winter average temperature below 18C (64F) and an average rainfall of about 1,400 mm (about 55 in) concentrated in summer. The South has subtropical conditions, with average temperatures below 20C (68F) and cool winters. Rainfall averages about 1,500 mm (about 60 in), with no differences between seasons. The region is also subject to frost, which occurs on average ten days a year and may damage crops. There are occasional snowfalls in the higher areas.

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