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Brazil

Geography and Climate

Geography

With its expansive territory, Brazil covers an area of 8,547,404 sq km and occupies most of the eastern part of the South American continent. The national territory extends 4,395 kilometres from north to south and 4,319 kilometres  from east to west. On Brazil's east coast, the Atlantic coastline extends 7,367 kilometres. In the west, in clockwise order from the south, Brazil has 15,719 kilometres of borders with Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. The only South American countries with which Brazil does not share borders are Chile and Ecuador.

Climate

Although 90% of the country is within the tropical zone, the climate of Brazil varies considerably from the mostly tropical North (the equator traverses the mouth of the Amazon) to temperate zones below the Tropic of Capricorn, which crosses the country at the latitude of the city of São Paulo. Brazil has five climatic regions: equatorial, tropical, semiarid, highland tropical, and subtropical.

Temperatures along the equator are high, averaging above 25 °C, but not reaching the summer extremes of up to 40 °C in the temperate zones. There is little seasonal variation near the equator, although at times it can get cool enough for wearing a jacket, especially in the rain. At the country's other extreme, there are frosts south of the Tropic of Capricorn during the winter (June-August), and there is snow in the mountainous areas, such as Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. Temperatures in the cities of São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, and Brasília are moderate (usually between 15 °C and 30 °C), despite their relatively low latitude, because of their elevation of approximately 1,000 metres. Rio de Janeiro, Recife, and Salvador on the coast have warm climates, with average temperatures ranging from 23 °C to 27 °C, but enjoy constant trade winds. The southern cities of Porto Alegre and Curitiba have a subtropical climate similar to that in parts of the United States and Europe, and temperatures can fall below freezing in winter.

Precipitation levels vary widely. Most of Brazil has moderate rainfall of between 1,000 and 1,500 millimetres a year, with most of the rain falling in the summer (between December and April) south of the Equator. The Amazon region is notoriously humid, with rainfall generally more than 2,000 millimetres per year and reaching as high as 3,000 millimetres in parts of the western Amazon and near Belém. Despite high annual precipitation, the Amazon rain forest has a three- to five-month dry season, the timing of which varies according to location north or south of the equator.

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