This page presents Colombia'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.
Colombia is recognized as a megadiverse country with a diverse range of ecosystems, such as paramos, mangroves, wetlands, coral reefs, glaciers, oceans, and tropical forests, as well as significant biodiversity and water resources. Colombia’s climate is tropical along the coast and the eastern lowlands, and cooler in the highlands and Andes. The country’s topographic diversity defines the three recognized climatic zones: the high elevation cold zones (tierra fria), located above 2,000 meters (m) in elevation, with mean annual temperatures ranging between 13ºC–17ºC, a temperate zone (tierra templada), located between 1,000 m–2,000 m, with mean annual temperatures of approximately 18ºC, and a tropical zone (tierra caliente), which covers all areas below 1,000 m and mean annual temperatures of 24ºC–27ºC. Average annual rainfall is 2,630 mm; but there is significant variability across the country. The West Pacific coast and in the Andean interior receive the highest rainfall amounts (approximately 6 mm–7,000 mm per year), while the drier steppe climates in the north and south west receive less than 500 mm per year. The Andean regions experience a bimodal pattern of rains during April–June and October–December, while the northern Caribbean region, due to its proximity to the equator, experiences a single rainy season between May–October. Inter-annual rainfall variability is influenced by the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The ENSO brings droughts and warmer weather and La Niña is associated with floods and cooler weather in Colombia, particularly between June and August.
- Temperatures in Colombia have already increased by at least 1ºC in the last twenty years.
- Maximum temperatures have risen between 1ºC per decade in the high mountains, and 0.6ºC per decade in the sub-paramo regions. The number of warm nights have increased, while the number of cold nights have decreased.
- Precipitation patterns exhibit a high degree of inter-annual variability in Colombia, while ENSO brings droughts and warmer weather, La Niña is associated with floods and cooler weather in Colombia, particularly between June and August.
- A statistically significant increase in rainfall between March and December was recorded between 1950 and 2006, which is partly offset by a decrease in June–April rains, though the latter are not statistically significant.