Climate Change Overview

Country Summary

This page presents high-level information for Uruguay's climate zones and its seasonal cycle for mean temperature and precipitation for the latest climatology, 1991-2020. Climate zone classifications are derived from the Köppen-Geiger climate classification system, which divides climates into five main climate groups divided based on seasonal precipitation and temperature patterns. The five main groups are A (tropical), B (dry), C (temperate), D (continental), and E (polar). All climates except for those in the E group are assigned a seasonal precipitation sub-group (second letter).  Climate classifications are identified by hovering your mouse over the legend. A narrative overview of Uruguay's country context and climate is provided following the visualizations.

Uruguay is located in the eastern temperate zone of South America, with a land surface of 175,016 km2 and a coastline of over 680 km and 142,198 km2 of territorial sea, islands and jurisdictional waters of riverways and bordering lagoons. Uruguay shares boarders with Argentina to the west, separated by the Uruguay River, and dry borders with Brazil in the North and Northeast. The Uruguayan landscape is dominated by natural grasslands interspersed with native forests, palm groves and wetlands, hills, mountain ranges and valleys, coastal lagoons, rocky points and sandy beaches to along the coast. Its southern coasts stretch along the Rio de la Plata (West) and the Atlantic Ocean (East). 

Uruguay has a temperate climate, with well-defined winter and summer seasons, separated by intermediate or transition seasons of autumn and spring. The country is also endowed with significant hydrographic resources through rivers, streams and ravines. Uruguay is located in a bio-graphic transition zone and thus is home to important biodiversity, areas both eco-regional and eco-systemic. Prairie lands are the dominant biome, covering more than 70% of the national territory, and comprises on of the areas with the greatest “wealth of grasses or pastures" in the world. Native forest coverage equals approximately 4.8% of the national territory. Nearly 3,500 kmof the territory are occupied by lakes and lagoons, and another 4,000 km2 by permanent and temporary wetlands such as the Bañados del Este, the Farrapos and Queguay estuaries and the river St. Lucia. There are three primary transboundary hydrographic basins, the Uruguay River, the Río de la Plata, and Laguna Merín. This vast network of groundwater and water resources throughout the country are fundamental to economic activities and daily life.  

Uruguay is a democratic republic with a total population of 3.46 million people (2019) and an annual population growth rate at 0.4%. Uruguay has had a strong economy, which has been a key factor in its development, despite its small population. The economy typically experiences positive growth periods when the country experienced good conditions for agricultural productive, for both summer and winter crops. The country has worked to increase its services sector (tourism, transport and logistics, information and communication, and financial services) as well as agricultural exports. 

Uruguay is highly vulnerable to climate change and climate variability, given its key sectors and climate dependence for successful agricultural production. Climate hazards in such as drought, flooding, increasing temperatures and heatwaves and string storms increases Uruguay’s vulnerability to climate change. Key climate change adaptation focus is on the sustainability of food production (agriculture and livestock), forestry, energy generation, water resources, and public health sectors.