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Climate of Brazil

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Average Annual Temperatures
Although 90 percent of the country is within the tropical zone, more than 60 percent of the population live in areas where altitude, sea winds, or cold polar fronts moderate the temperature. There are five climatic regions in Brazil: equatorial, tropical, semi arid, highland tropical, and subtropical. Plateau cities such as São Paulo, Brasília, and Belo Horizonte have very mild climates averaging 66°F (19°C). Rio de Janeiro, Recife, and Salvador on the coast have warm climates balanced by the constancy of the Trade Winds. In the southern Brazilian cities of Porto Alegre and Curitiba, the subtropical climate is similar to parts of the U.S. and Europe with frosts occurring with some frequency. In this region temperatures in winter can fall below freezing. Despite the popular image of the Amazon as a region of blistering heat, temperatures of more than 90°F (32°C) are rarely experienced there. In fact, the annual average temperature in the Amazon region is in the range of 72 79°F (22-26°C), with only a very small seasonal variation between the warmest and the coldest months. The hottest part of Brazil is the northeast where, during the dry season, between May and November, temperatures of more than 100°F (38°C) are recorded frequently. The northeast has greater seasonal variation in temperatures than does the Amazon region. Along the Atlantic coast from Recife to Rio de Janeiro, mean temperatures range from 73°F to 81°F (23 27°C). Inland, on higher ground; temperatures are lower, ranging from 64°F to 70°F (18 21°C). South of Rio, the seasons are more noticeable and the annual range of temperature greater. The average temperature for this part of the country is in the range between 63°F to 66°F (17 19°C).

Average Annual Rainfall
Brazil's most intense rainfall is found around the mouth of the Amazon River near the city of Belém, and also in the vast upper regions of Amazônia where more than 78 inches (2,000 millimeters) of rain falls every year. Another important region of heavy rainfall is along the edge of the great escarpment in the state of São Paulo. Most of Brazil, however, has moderate rainfall of between 39 to 59 inches (1,000 to 1,500 millimeters) a year, with most of the rain falling in the summer, between December and April. The winters tend to be dry. The driest part of the country is the northeast, the so called "polygon of drought", encompassing 10 percent of the country's territory. In this region rainfall is undependable and the evaporation rate is very high, making it difficult to raise crops. Along the coastline, south from Recife, the mountains trigger rainfall from the Trade Winds. In some places behind the mountains, such as the region south of Salvador, the hinterland is dry because the rain is dumped on the mountains leaving very little for the area behind.

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