Because of its great latitudinal range, Chile has a diversity of climates. In general, temperatures are moderated by oceanic influences. Winters are mild, and summers are relatively cool. Precipitation is generally concentrated in the winter months (May to August), and rainfall increases southward. The northern region is almost entirely desert and is one of the driest areas in the world. Temperatures, however, are moderated by the offshore presence of the cold Peru, or Humboldt, Current. The average temperatures at Antofagasta range from 18° to 23°C (64° to 74°F) in January and from 12° to 16°C (53° to 62°F) in July. This area gets very little precipitation with an annual average of 2 mm (0.1 in) at Antofagasta.
The central region of Chile has a mild climate. In Santiago the average temperature range is 12° to 29°C (54° to 85°F) in January and 3° to 15°C (38° to 58°F) in July. Temperatures decrease about 1 Celsius degree for each 150 m (about 1 Fahrenheit degree for each 275 ft) of elevation in the Andes. Santiago receives an annual total of 360 mm (14 in) of precipitation.
The southern region is cooler and experiences year-round rainfall. Precipitation reaches a maximum of about 5,000 mm (about 200 in) near the Strait of Magellan, much of it in the form of snow. The average annual temperature at Punta Arenas in the far south is about 7°C (about 44°F). Strong winds and cyclonic storms (see Cyclone) are common in the southern region. © "Chile" © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
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