Guatemala Climate and Hydrography

by | June 6, 2022

Located between 13 ° 54 ′ and 17 ° 48 ′ north latitude, Guatemala falls within the domain of warm, tropical equatorial climates. The altimetry, by modifying the temperatures and rainfall, allows the region to be divided into the following bands: 1) tierra caliente, from sea level to 600 meters, with average annual temperatures above 230, very suitable for all tropical crops and equatorial; 2) tierra templada, which goes up to 1800 m., With temperatures ranging between 23 ° and 17 °. It can in turn be divided into two bands: the first between 600 and 1200 m., With temperatures of 23 ° -20 °; the second between 1200 and 1800 m., with 20 ° -17 °, very suitable for the cultivation of coffee (up to 1500 m. on average). 3) la tierra fría follows, above 1800 meters up to 3000 meters; temperatures in this area remain above 100; there are possible cultivations of the temperate zone.

According to Clothing Express, characteristic of the Guatemalan climate is the low annual temperature range both in the flat and in the high areas : we are facing equatorial and sub-equatorial plains and mountain climates. Thus Chimax (Cobán), at m. 1306 high, has an average annual temperature of 18 ° 3, the coldest month is December with 15 ° 8, the hottest is June with 19 ° 9 (excursion 4 ° 1); Guatemala, at m. 1480, with an annual average of 18 ° 6, presents 16 ° in the coldest months (December and January) and 20 ° 8 in the hottest month (May), with an excursion of 4 ° 8; Quezaltenango, at m. 2350, has an average annual temperature of 14 ° 6 °, a minimum of 11 ° (January), a maximum of 16 ° 9 (May) with an excursion of 5 ° 9. The flat areas have average equatorial temperatures: Quiriguá (Izabal), at m. 95, has an annual average of 25 ° 2; November 21st 2, May 28th 5, with an excursion of 7.3.

Precipitation is usually very abundant, almost always above 1000 mm. According to the annual average quantity, the most intensely rainy regions are those bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the northern flat section (Petén). An oasis of particularly intense rainfall is offered by the department of Alta Verapaz, where numerous stations have over 5000 mm. of rain per year: Chinasayup, at m. 875 sm, has 5234 mm. annual rain; Setal, at 730 msm, 5288 mm.; Trece Aguas, at m. 725 sm, 5617 mm. The medium basin of Motagua, on the other hand, has areas with rainfall of less than 1000 mm., While the Pacific side is heavily rained. The amount of rain increases with the altitude: S. José, on the sea, has 1410 mm.; Retalhuleu, at m. 250 sm, 2772 mm.; San Luis (Quezaltenango), at m. 650 sm, has 4895 mm.; S. Amalia (Quezaltenango) at m. 800 sm, mm. 4309. The area of ​​the highlands has less abundant rainfall: Guatemala, at m. 1480s. m., has 1316 mm. of rain per year; Quezaltenango, at m. 2350 sm, 671 mm. only. As regards the seasonal distribution, on the Atlantic side, open to trade winds, the rainfall appears to be distributed very regularly in each month of the year: Puerto Barrios in the period May-October receives 56% of the total amount of rainfall; Setal 59%; Chimax (Alta Verapaz) 65%. On the Pacific side, on the other hand, an intensely rainy season alternates with a relatively dry one: in San Luis in the period considered, 82% of the annual total falls; 88% in Quezaltenango, and 64% in San José.

The rivers of Guatemala run to two main sides: that of the Atlantic and that of the Pacific. For obvious morphological reasons, the rivers that flow into the Pacific are not navigable due to the steepness of their slope, nor do they have regular flow: they are magnificently usable for the production of hydroelectric energy. Far more important are those on the Atlantic side, among which we will distinguish those that throw themselves into the Gulf of Campeggio and those that send the waters to the Gulf of Honduras. Of the former (Chiapas and Usumacinta) Guatemala has only the spring basins, while the latter is entirely within the limits of the state. The largest are: the Motagua, the main Guatemalan river, over 400 km long, and the Río Polochic, which with its tributary, the Cobán, is 300 km long:

On the Pacific side, in relation to the imposing volcanic systems, there are two large lakes: Lake Atitlán, devoid of emissaries, at m. 1555 on the sea, with 270 sq. Km. of surface, a perimeter of 120 km. and a depth greater than 320 meters, looked south by the volcanoes of S. Pedro and Atitlȧn; and the Amatitlán Lake (Michatoya basin) at m. 1180, with an area of ​​30 sq. Km., With 50 km. of perimeter, a maximum depth of 34 m., looked to the west and south by the volcanoes Santa María, Agua and Pacaya.

Guatemala Climate