Tuesday 6 December 2022

Why doesn’t it snow in South America? (or at least in very few places)

Mexico, Panama, Colombia and many other countries do not experience snow. But, do you know exactly why it doesn't snow in South America?

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3 December 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

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Q REPORTS – As autumn ends, a white breeze begins to travel and cover the landscape of many countries in the world. Winter has arrived and with it the intense snow and cold, however, not everyone on the planet experiences immense cold and neither does snow, especially in some places of South America.

Surely, at some point, you wondered why it does not snow in South America and one of the many reasons is the latitude.

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The latitude with respect to the Equator defines, almost completely, whether or not there will be snow in a place. For example, those regions near the Equator-by simple position-receive the sun’s rays directly. In this environment, temperatures tend to be higher and this drastically prevents snow from falling.

Although, it must be taken into account that there are places in South America where the temperatures and the height favor the fall of snow, for example, the peaks of the Andes, the longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of South America, extending from north to south through seven South American countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina; Urubici in Brazil or Pucón in Chile.

Snowfall in these areas of South America is extremely rare and mainly confined to the highlands. For example, the last significant snowfall in Argentina occurred in 1975 in Bernardo de Irigoyen.

It snows in Peru but only on the high mountain tops, with regions above 16,000 feet having permanent snow.

What it takes to create snow

On the other hand, there are parts of the world where landscapes are covered in white. Commonly, those places that have snow are because they are further from the Equator and, therefore, receive less sunlight. These sites are essentially colder and their conditions allow for snowfall.

If the appearance of snow depended on its own on the temperature, it is possible that in other parts of the world it would snow. But, the reality is that snow is produced thanks to the work together of many factors.

Not only does the position of the Equator have to do with it, but it is also influenced by the presence of nearby ocean currents.

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A clear example of this operation of currents is with Mexico and Canada.

A city in northern Mexico maintains temperatures as low as a city in Canada, but the difference is that the Mexican city receives the warm blow of the Gulf Stream, while the Canadian city meets the cold Labrador Current.

Likewise, in the Mexican city (due to its position closer to the Equator) it receives sunlight more directly than the city in Canada.

These factors are what determine whether or not snow falls in a place.

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It is not only about generating as much cold as possible, it is also about getting as far away as possible from a constant source of heat.

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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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