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The climate of the Atacama Desert: when to go to Atacama

The Atacama desert has one of the most arid and driest types of climate in the world. In the areas of Atacama there are some places that since the meteorological data have been recorded have never received a single drop of rain. Historical evidence indicates that some areas of the Atacama desert have never received significant rainfall over the past five hundred years.

These climatic conditions are caused by the fact that the desert is located on the leeward side of the Chilean coast and this prevents moisture from the Pacific Ocean from reaching the desert, another cause is the presence of the Andes mountain range which blocks the clouds coming from Orient.

AN ARID CLIMATE

The presence in the waters of the Pacific Ocean of the cold current of Humboldt forms, along the coast, rather persistent mists (Camanchaca), which bring humidity, but very rare are the rains, even along the coast. The average annual rainfall varies between 0 mm inland and 2 mm along the coast.

As for temperatures, the differences are minimal along the coast, with average maximum temperatures ranging between 27 ° C / 24 ° C in the hottest months (January and February) and 18 ° C / 16 ° C in the colder months (July and August), while the average minimum temperatures vary between 21 ° C / 17 ° C in the hottest months (January and February) and 15 ° C / 12 ° C in the colder months (July and August).

Inland the altitude, on the other hand, causes significant differences in temperatures between day and night, in these areas there are differences of more than 20 ° C between the temperature of the day and that of the night. In the town of Calama which is located at 2,275 meters above sea level, in the hottest month of January the maximum average temperatures have values of 28 ° C while the minimum average temperatures mark 8 ° C, in July the maximum average temperatures have values of 23 ° C while the average minimum temperatures mark 1 ° C. Rainfall here is 35 mm per year.

Heavy rains can sometimes occur in the San Pedro de Atacama area between late January and mid February. In this period heavy storms can occur especially at night.

WHEN TO GO TO THE ATACAMA DESERT

To visit the Atacama desert area every season of the year may be suitable. In fact the climate changes very little on a seasonal basis, and the rains are certainly not a problem (except in rare exceptions ….).

THE CLIMATE OF THE ATACAMA DESERT: CLIMATE TABLES

CLIMATE TABLES: CALAMA

CALAMA (2260 meters)
MonthAverage low (°C)Average high (°C)Precip. (mm)Precip. days
January5,124,117
February5,524,14
March4,423,61
April2,223,01
May0,722,11
June-0,520,61
July-0,920,91
August-0,921,51
September0,422,65
October1,723,71
November2,824,21
December3,624,41
YEAR2,022,935

CLIMATE TABLES: IQUIQUE

IQUIQUE (1 meter)
MonthAverage low (°C)Average high (°C)Precip. (mm)Precip. days
January19,225,30,0 0
February19,025,50,0 0
March18,424,90,0 0
April16,922,70,0 0
May15,720,70,0 0,2
June14,719,00,0 0,3
July14,018,00,0 0,2
August14,218,00,5 0,1
September14,618,80,4 0,1
October15,420,10,0 0
November16,521,70,0 0
December17,827,30,1 0,1
YEAR16,421,51,0 1,0

CLIMATE TABLES: ANTOFAGASTA

ANTOFAGASTA (40 meters)
MonthAverage low (°C)Average high (°C)Precip. (mm)Precip. days
January17,523,20,2 0,2
February17,223,30,0 0,0
March16,322,30,1 0,1
April14,720,40,0 0,0
May13,418,70,3 0,2
June12,317,31,2 0,3
July11,816,50,3 0,3
August12,216,60,4 0,4
September12,817,20,6 0,7
October13,918,20,1 0,2
November15,119,80,1 0,2
December16,421,70,1 0,1
YEAR14,519,63,4 2,7

CLIMATE TABLES: ARICA

ARICA (2 meters)
MonthAverage low (°C)Average high (°C)Precip. (mm)Precip. days
January19,825,80,3 0,3
February19,826,20,2 0,2
March18,925,60,2 0,1
April17,123,60,1 0,0
May15,521,40,2 0,1
June14,819,40,2 0,3
July14,318,30,1 0,3
August14,518,30,1 0,3
September15,019,00,0 0,3
October15,820,40,0 0,0
November16,922,20,1 0,0
December18,224,10,0 0,1
YEAR16,722,01,5 2,0

SEA WATER TEMPERATURE

ARICA
MonthSea water temperature °C
January24
February24
March23
April22
May20
June18
July17
August17
September17
October19
November20
December22

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