South America has a wide range of climates which is predominantly wet and hot. However the large size of the continent makes the climate of South America varied with each region having its own characteristic weather conditions, geographical location, ocean currents and winds. The Amazon river basin has the typical hot wet climate suitable for the growth of rain forests. On the contrary, the desert regions of Chile is the driest part of South America.
Most of South America receives ample rain. Rainfall averages more than 200 centimeters a year in four areas: Coastal French Guiana, Guyana, and Suriname; The Amazon River Basin; Southwestern Chile; and The coasts of Colombia and northern Ecuador. Quibdo, Colombia, the rainiest place in South America, receives more than 890 centimeters of rain a year. Even the wettest regions of the continent generally have a dry season, however, when there is plenty of sunshine between downpours.
The highest temperatures of South America have been recorded in Gran Chaco in Argentina, with temperatures going up to 110 degrees F. The wettest place is Quibdo in Columbia. A unique feature of South America Climate is the El Nino. Every two to seven years the cold dry Peru Current weakens and warm waters from the south rush along the coast in a southward direction. The El Nion affects the Climate of South America and causes heavy rainfall in the dry parts of South America.
The people of South America are heavily dependent on the continents natural resources—from the rangelands at the foothills of the Andes, to the plants and animals of the Amazon rainforest, to the fisheries off the coast of Peru. The regions ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the changes in water availability expected with a changing climate. Higher global temperatures along with more frequent El Nios may bring increased drought, and melting glaciers in the Andes threaten the future water supply of mountain communities. Signs of a warming climate have already appeared both at high elevations—in glacial retreat and shifting ranges of disease-carrying mosquitoes—and along the coast—in rising sea level and coral bleaching.