When people think of Brazil weather, visions of a tropical paradise come to mind.
While much of Brazil is tropical, you will find great variety in the Brazil climate. There are actually five climate regions in the country, each having their own weather. Weather plays a major part of every country and Brazil is no exception.
There are four seasons in Brazil, though only the southern area experiences any true change between the four. Other areas of the country experience two main seasons: the dry and the rainy seasons.
The times of the seasons are the exact opposite of Europe and the US, with winter beginning the 22nd of June and summer starting on December 22nd. Spring begins in September and autumn's first day is the 22nd of March.
The rainy season will begin in the autumn for parts of the Amazon and not until winter in other areas, but it will last about six months for all of the rainforest.
Other parts of Brazil are more agreeable year-round, especially the northeast and the area around Rio de Janeiro. Showers do come up unexpectedly, which can ruin a tourist's day at the beach, but that is just part of the experience of visiting Brazil.
The southern region of Brazil can be quite cold in the winter. Light coats and sweaters are needed when the temperatures dip down to 41F or 5C. This past June saw record lows for many of the small towns and even some snow in areas.
Every country has natural disasters related to extremes in its climate and Brazil weather is no exception. The main issues the country faces are flooding and droughts. This past January saw the worst natural disaster in Brazil's history with torrential downpours causing flooding and mudslides. Over 600 people were killed in one day, causing it to be the worst single day disaster the country has seen.
A cyclone named Catarina hit Brazil near Torres in March of 2004. It was the first time a hurricane sized storm had ever hit the area and there was substantial damage to homes, crops and livestock. However, only three people died from the storm, which was remarkable since there was no warning system in place.
The South region experiences average rainfall throughout the year rather than having a rainy season. Winters can be cold enough to see snow. The hottest months are January and February.
The Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo area has a rainy season from October through April. Temperatures do not vary much from summer to winter.
The rainy season for the Northeastern Coast is from March to August and rainfall averages between six to eleven inches a month, but the showers do not last very long. Many people go inside for the rain and then are back out on the beach soon.
Central Brazil has a wide range of temperatures from summer to winter. It can get cool enough in July to need a sweater while summer can be hot and humid. You will be likely to see around ten inches per month of precipitation during the rainy season.
Northwestern Brazil is home to the Amazon and is often hot and humid. Rainfall amounts vary throughout the area, but August through October is the best time to visit for less rain.
The Brazil climate change affects its citizens in many ways, especially the poor. Poverty is a major concern in the country, with many of the people living on less than two dollars per day. Weather can have a strong impact on these people who often live without electricity and running water and may even be homeless.
Rural poverty is an issue in Brazil, where people live on small family farms, but still lack the basic necessities of life. When either flooding or droughts happen, it affects the small crops that the people are trying to raise.
Many homes do not have electricity, which can be a greater problem in the winter when it gets colder. People do not always have adequate clothing and often get sick. The problem only worsens with a lack of food.
In many of the larger cities, you will find people living in slum houses that they have built on the hillsides themselves. They have little to no running water, and they will run a cord from the electrical box to their apartment. It is not sufficient enough to run a household, but they can use it for the most essential of their needs. Often, it is used to run machines to earn money, such as a sewing machine to make clothes.
These slums, called favelas, are not airtight and will leak when it rains. Keeping their belongings clean and dry is nearly impossible. The cold is the worst weather problem in these homes because it is nearly impossible to get enough electricity for heating.
Brazil is also a major exporter of many food items that are dependent on the weather. In 2010, honey exports were lower due to the weather. Sugar cane has been affected in 2011 due to rains. Since Brazil is a major agricultural country, weather-related conditions can be detrimental to the country's export business, and therefore the economy.
If you are planning a trip to Brazil, it is important that you know which area of the country you are going to plan for the weather. Choosing the wrong time of the year for your travel can make for a less than exceptional experience.
For people who live there, weather plays a much bigger role. It affects their lives by affecting their livelihood and their homes. It can be more than just a bad experience, but make for a miserable time if they are exposed to the elements.
Part of learning about Brazil is understanding Brazil weather and knowing what to expect both in the climate conditions and how it affects the people who live there.