Colombia Climate...

 
 

The country's proximity to the equator means that Colombia climate sees little variation in temperature throughout the year.

Despite its proximity to the Equator, Colombia does not have a uniform warm climate throughout the year, as there are a many geographical and atmospheric factors that influence the range of climates of the country.

Temperature does change with altitude, creating various climatic zones from hot lowlands to freezing Andean peaks. In fact, the striking variety in temperature and precipitation results principally from differences in elevation.


As a general rule, the temperature falls about 6°C with every 1.000m increase in altitude. If the average temperature at sea level is 30°C, it will be around 24°C at 1.000m, 18°C at 2.000m and 12°C at 3.000m.

Differences between daytime and nighttime temperatures are also affected by altitude. While the highlands may experience warm days and freezing nights, the lowlands have days and nights almost equally hot.

In practical terms, Colombia has two real seasons, dry (summer) and wet (winter). The dry season is usually in December-January and July-August, and the rains come in April-May and October-November - although this can vary considerably.

The pattern of seasons, however, varies in different parts of the country, and it's been influenced over the last few years by the "warm event" and "cold event" known as El Niño and La Niña, respectively.

 
 

Colombia climate shows five distinct zones: tropical rainforests, savannas, steppes, deserts and mountain climate, which is further subdivided into: tierra caliente (hot land) tierra templada (temperate land) tierra fría (cold land), tierra helada (frozen land) and Páramo.

Mountain climate is one of the unique features of the Andes, this is the case of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and other high altitude peaks, where climate is determined by elevation.

These variations in climate depending on its altitude are called thermal floors. Altitude controls not only the climate but also the agriculture of a given area, and production is amazingly varied.

So let's review each of the five climate zones...


  • Rainforest:
    With day time temperatures in the range of 30°C, the hot and humid tropical rainforest weather characterizes for heavy rain as well,. The wet season lasts from April till October, being January the driest month.
  • Savanna:
    The semi-humid tropical savannah weather embraces the eastern plains (Llanos, Caribbean coasts and sections of the Cauca and Magdalena rivers, with a temperature range between 24 and 27 °C (75.2 and 80.6 °F). It has a rainy season and a dry season, each lasting about six month.
  • Desert:
    Present in the deserts of Tatacoa and Guajira, is characterized by high temperatures - around 29°C - and scarce precipitations. The high Guajira is considered the less rainy region of Colombia.
  • Steppe:
    This climate is found in the northern Guajira, the plains of Bolívar and the central area of the Orinoquía region. It receives minimum precipitations and can also include the desert climate for a period of 5 months of dry season.
  • Mountain Climate:
    Common to the Andes and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, this type of climate is determined by elevation, defined as thermal floors...
    - between sea level and 1.000 m.a.s.l. - Similar to the equatorial and tropical plain, temperatures can reach over 29 °C (84.2 °F).
    - 1.000 to 2.000 m.a.s.l. - The temperature drops oscillating between 17 and 22 °C (62.6 and 71.6 °F).
    - 2.000 to 3.000 m.a.s.l. - With average temperature ranging between 10 and 17 °C (50.0 and 62.6 °F).
    - 3.000 to 4.000 m.a.s.l. - Temperature in this thermal floor is lower than 10 °C (50 °F).
    - 4.000 meters up - With severe weather and average temperatures ranging between 10 °C (50 °F) and less.

For more info regarding Colombia climate you can check the official info provided by IDEAM - Instituto de Hidrologia, Meteorologia y Estudios Ambientales - site in Spanish.