Current Climate

Climatology

This page presents Chile's climate context for the current climatology, 1991-2020, derived from observed, historical data. Information should be used to build a strong understanding of current climate conditions in order to appreciate future climate scenarios and projected change. You can visualize data for the current climatology through spatial variation, the seasonal cycle, or as a time series. Analysis is available for both annual and seasonal data. Data presentation defaults to national-scale aggregation, however sub-national data aggregations can be accessed by clicking within a country, on a sub-national unit.  Other historical climatologies can be selected from the Time Period dropdown list. Data for  specific coordinates can be downloaded for in the Data Download page.

Observed, historical data is produced by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of University of East Anglia. Data is presented at a 0.5º x 0.5º (50km x 50km) resolution.

Chile’s unique geography and topographical features result in a wide range of climates and environments. Chile has the Atacama Desert in the north, one of the most arid deserts in the world, the ice-capped Andes mountains in the east, the Pacific Ocean on the west, and Antarctic region in the south. Thus, Chile’s unique climate zones range from tropical in the north, Mediterranean in the center, and Antarctic (antiboreal oceanic) in the South, with unique regional climates such as the arid Atacama Desert or the high peaks of the Andean mountains.

On average, Chile experiences mild southern hemispheric summers between November and January, with mean annual temperatures of 10°C-12°C, and wet winters between May and August, with precipitation of 72 millimeters (mm) to 90 mm per month. Chile’s climate is primarily influenced by the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), and the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO). In Chile, years with ENSO have higher probability of precipitation; together with PDO, ENSO considerably affects snow accumulation and mountain flow regimes. The Andean mountains influence precipitation patterns across the country, affecting both temperature and precipitation. Chile’s extensive coast benefits from upwelling, the movement of dense, cool, and nutrient rich water to the surface, is also influenced by wind and ocean temperature patterns. Temperatures in Chile vary depending on latitude and altitude, with higher temperatures occurring during southern summer months (November-February). Temperatures tend to be lower in areas with high elevations and close to the Antarctic south and warmer in areas with tropical climates. Precipitation follows a seasonal pattern; most precipitation occurs during winter and more arid conditions are experienced in the summer. Some areas, such as the Atacama Desert, seldom receive rainfall, often during winter months. Southern areas have more precipitation, primarily during the southern winter. In the central region, near Santiago, there is a large range in precipitation with most of the precipitation falling during May and July and almost no precipitation between October and March. 

Temperature

  • Temperatures in Chile vary depending on latitude and altitude, with higher temperatures occurring during southern summer months (November-February). 
  • Temperatures tend to be lower in areas with high elevations and close to the Antarctic south and warmer in areas with tropical climates.
  • Average temperatures for the country have risen moderately in recent decades.
  • Chile’s northern and central regions experience higher temperatures compared to the south.

Precipitation

  • Precipitation in Chile varies significantly by latitude and elevation. The country is home to the most arid desserts of the world as well as areas with high precipitation.
  • Precipitation follows a seasonal pattern; most precipitation occurs during winter and more arid conditions are experienced in the summer. Some areas, such as the Atacama Desert, seldom receive rainfall, often during winter months. Southern areas have more precipitation, primarily during the southern winter. In the central region, near Santiago, there is a large range in precipitation with most of the precipitation falling during May and July and almost no precipitation between October and March.
  • Annual precipitation in coastal regions has decreased by 15-30% in the last century. The country has experienced several instances of drought in recent decades.