The climate of South America is similar to the climate of other continents of tropical latitudes – Africa and Australia, although here the territories with dry climate are much smaller. By the amount of precipitation, no continent can compete with South America. All these features are determined by a number of climate-forming factors.
Like other continents of tropical latitudes, much of South America is located within the boundaries of a hot heat belt where the sun is at its zenith. Here the air temperatures are high. During the year they range from +20 to +28 C. To the south of the tropics, in a temperate zone, it is somewhat colder: in the south in winter – up to +10 ° C, and on the island of Tierra del Fuego – sometimes even 0 ° C. In the mountains there are frosts in winter.
As on other continents of tropical latitudes, in South America there are constant winds – the trade winds. But they, unlike the trade winds of Africa and Australia, bring rainfall to the mainland, as they form over the Atlantic Ocean, where the Brazilian and Guiana warm currents additionally saturate the air with moisture. In addition, the flat nature of the relief of the eastern part of South America allows the trade winds to penetrate far into the interior of the continent, up to the Andes. Therefore, throughout the flat territory in the area of the trade winds, 1000-3000 mm of precipitation falls.
In the west, the cold Peruvian current cools the air of coastal areas and does not contribute to the formation of precipitation. Here is the Atacama Desert.
The extreme south of the continent is subject to the influence of the constant wind of temperate latitudes – the Western transference. Andes are a barrier to moist air masses carried by this wind from the Pacific Ocean.
Therefore, on the western slopes of mountains of precipitation is very much – up to 7000 mm per year. At the same time, there are not enough mountains around them, and the cold Falkland current intensifies the dryness of the climate.
Periodically, in South America, cold breath of Antarctica is felt. Then there is a cold stormy wind of Pampero, which carries cold and dry Antarctic air and causes a rapid drop in air temperature, up to 30 ° C per day.
Thus, the climate of South America differs from the climate of Africa and Australia by high humidity and diversity.