Types of Climate in Argentina
Updated March 29, 2019
One of the most salient features of the Argentine territory is its variety of climates: humid, dry, tropical heat or nival cold, through different kinds of mild climates. Nothing remains outside the possibilities offered by the types of climate in Argentina.
The variety of geographical regions in Argentina, are a determining factor of the different types of climates. To learn more about the different regions, and the Argentine water systems see Argentina Geographic Regions and Hydrography in Argentina
Geographical factors determining Climate
Due to its vast territory, Argentina presents a remarkable climatic diversity. In this sense, various geographic factors have a direct bearing, determining the climatic characteristics of the different regions.
One of these factors is latitude: the Argentine Republic is characterized by its great latitudinal development: from 21º 46′ to 55º 58′ S. This is basically the origin of the climatic variation in the country.
Otherwise, the mountain ranges extending from north to south in the Argentine west are a relief factor facilitating the circulation of air masses in the east of the country and determining different kinds of winds.
Furthermore, relief influences temperatures insofar as the higher the altitude, the lower the temperature.
Influence of Sea
The presence of the sea, which, in the case of the Argentine territory, constitutes a natural boundary to the east, exercises a moderating action, diminishing the thermal range.
Meteorological Factors influencing Climate
Different meteorological factors act on the Argentine territory, some of them are local, whereas the others originate beyond the Argentine boundaries, such is the case of the warm and humid winds coming from the Atlantic anticyclone and affecting the regions located to the north of Patagonia or the west winds coming from the Pacific anticyclone, as well as the cold winds from the Antarctic anticyclone.
These three winds affect the Argentine climate in a permanent way, unlike the local winds, which include:
The Zonda: which is warm and dry, generally blowing between May and October and originating to the east of the pre-cordillera in La Rioja, San Juan and Mendoza.
The Sudestada: which originates in the Pampa littoral and is characterized by its high humidity content.
The Pampero: coming from the south-west, is cold and dry, and blows mainly in summer, after several days of constant increase of temperature and humidity.
Tornadoes, which consist in an air mass in the form of a vertical funnel reaching a rotating movement of about 310 mph (500 kmph), originate between October and March in the Plata Basin.
Because of the prevalence of mild weather in most of the territory and soon winter, snowfall is rare in most of the territory. They focus on intensity and frequency in the Andean sector.
Frost and Hail
Besides, there are also frequent snowfalls in the Andean area, as well as frosts (if only coincidentally with the advance of cold winds from the South Pacific or in high mountain areas and the Patagonian plateaus) and hail, which can fall in the whole territory, especially between September and December.
Types of Climate in Argentina
It is found in the north-eastern angle of Argentina. Due to the decrease of the oceanic influence towards the west and to the modifications of the mountainous relief, there are three varieties of this kind of climate: sub-tropical without dry season, sub-tropical with dry season and sub-tropical of the sierras.
The amount and distribution of rainfall determine two varieties of mild climate, to the east, pampas or humid weather with strong oceanic influence on the southeast coast of Buenos Aires, and a strip west, temperate transition occurs, to the arid climate. The average temperature is 15 ° C.
There are two kinds:
The humid or oceanic cold, with an average temperature of around 45º F (7º C), which can vary with height.
The nival cold is characterized by permafrost, rainfall exceeding 800 mm and westerly winds. Snowy cold weather prevails in Antarctica.
According to the altitude and latitude, this climate shows four varieties:
High-mountain arid, with a temperature depending on altitude and a very wide thermal range.
Sierras-and-fields arid with an average temperature of about 64º F (18º C).
Steppe arid, with an average temperature of around 59º F (15º C) and presenting frequent frosts, which occur even in summer.
Cold arid, with an average temperature of about 50º F (10º C), a fairly wide thermal range and frosts occurring the whole year.
To learn more about the territorial development of Argentina, the area, perimeter, end points, and limits, consult Dimensions of Argentina