World Facts

Does it Snow in Brazil?

When it comes to snow, Brazil is a place people don't think of. However, it can snow in Brazil.

Brazil is a country known for places such as Rio De Janeiro, the Amazon Rainforest, and beaches. With this being considered, snow is not something that would come to mind when it comes to the climate. However, it can snow in Brazil.

Geography of Brazil

Brazil is a large nation, the largest in South America. From north to south it spans the distance from 5 degrees North latitude to 33 degrees South latitude. From west to east, longitudes stretch from 7 degrees to 20 degrees (Brazil's Atlantic Coast). Brazil is a nation of various land forms. Brazil is well known for its rain forest and beaches. However, there is more in Brazil. There are grasslands, plateaus, and coastal mountain ranges. With various land forms, Brazil is home to various climates. Various tropical climates make up the majority of climates in Brazil. There are, however, cooler climate zones in Brazil. It is in those areas where snow can take place.

The southern part of Brazil (particularly areas south of the Tropic of Capricorn) is where those cooler zones are found, specifically the inland areas. The climates in this region range from subtropical to highland climates. A large portion of southern Brazil lies outside of the tropics. Many areas in southern Brazil are at relatively high altitudes.

Snow Occurrences in Brazil's Far South

It is in the high plains regions where snow is a yearly occurrence within Brazil. The states of Parana, Rio Grande do Sul, and Santa Catarina are the southernmost states within Brazil. This is where Brazil's high plains are located. These three states are where an annual snow is the most common. While Santa Catarina is home to Florianopolis, a city known for surfing, the state's higher elevations further inland receive snow annually. The city of São Joaquim in Santa Catarina is one of the coldest cities in Brazil. Elevation and its location outside of the tropics plays a major role. São Joaquim is located at an elevation of 1,360 m (4,460 ft) above sea level, making it one of the highest cities in Brazil. At 28 degrees South, São Joaquim is located outside of the tropics. Heavy snowfall can occur in this city. However, while being one of the highest cities in Brazil, it is not high enough in altitude for heavy snow to remain on the ground for a long time. Frost is still a common occurrence in this city.

Other towns in the far south of Brazil have recorded relatively heavy snow fall. They include Urubici (in Santa Catarina), Palmas (in Parana), and Vacaria (in Rio Grande do Sul). Vacaria has recorded the heaviest snowfall in Brazil. Two metres of snow fell on Vacaria on August 7, 1897. This is the most snow ever recorded for any populated place in Brazil. Vacaria is located in the southernmost state of Brazil, Parana. This town is located at an elevation of 971 m (3,186 ft) above sea level. This combination, as with São Joaquim, contributes to snow fall taking place in the area. Nearby Caxias do Sul, also located in Parana, receives an annual snow fall. Both areas have what is referred to as a subtropical highland climate according to the Kopper climate classification system. This is a type of oceanic moist climate within tropical and subtropical zones. This type of climate is found in areas of relatively high elevations.

Rarer Snow in Brazil

Snow is much rarer outside of the states of Rio Grande Do Sul, Parana, and Santa Catarina. Snowfall has taken place in states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Specifically, inland areas in the higher elevations are where those snowfalls have taken place, not in those states' coastal areas. Itatiaia is located very close to the city of Rio de Janeiro, a city known for its beaches and tropical climate. However, Itatiaia is located near the Mantiqueira Mountains. Snow has taken place here. However, its location within the tropical regions makes snow very rare.

Conclusion

Snow has occurred in five Brazilian states. It is a yearly occurrence in the three southernmost states of Brazil, particularly in places of higher elevations. Can it snow in Brazil? The answer is yes. It depends on the location within Brazil. High elevations and regions outside of the tropics (places south of the Tropic of Capricorn) are where snow occurred the most.

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