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In Peru, the word "climate" takes on a whole new meaning. Because of its position just below the equator and its steep terrain, the country has different climates, which change over short distances depending on the altitude and the region you're in. 

On the coast, summer lasts from December to April. During this time, the temperature hovers between 26 °C and 36 °C on the coast. The Costa south of Lima is affected by the cold Humboldt Current, which leads to cooler summer temperatures and an intense heat from May to November.

East of the coast, the almost vertical heights of the Andes cause numerous temperature changes in the various geographic areas. The temperature in the Sierra drops to an average between 14 °C and 18 °C because of its higher altitude. Of course, the higher up you go, the colder it gets, and temperatures can even reach the freezing point. Bear in mind that even if the temperatures are lower than in the costal regions, the sun's rays are just as strong. The rainy season is from November to April.

The hot, humid and rainy climate of the Selva has average temperatures between 24 °C and 29 °C, but it can also rise to anywhere between 30 °C and 40 °C. The rainy season is from November to April.

El Niño

El Niño is a powerful and unusually warm water current that originates in the Pacific Ocean off the shores of Panama and flows south to the Peruvian coastline. It reaches its peak during the Christmas period, hence its name "El Niño" (Baby Jesus). El Niño causes heavy rains that can either benefit arid regions or develop into full-blown tropical storms. The complex phenomenon is becoming better understood thanks in part to satellite observation. For instance, the American satellite Seastar allows scientists to study photographs of this climatic anomaly and record its impact on the biosphere. Occasionally, as was the case in 1982 and in 1997, El Niño is particularly strong and its abnormally warm waters linger longer in certain areas and cause considerable damage to land and marine ecosystems. In 1997, El Niño was one of the strongest ever recorded and affected the entire planet: torrential rains and unusually high temperatures were reported in Peru, droughts and forest fires in Indonesia, downpours in California, flooding in the south-eastern part of the United States, and an ice storm in Quebec.

La Niña

Close on the heels of El Niño comes its chilly counterpart La Niña, coined "little girl" because of its opposite effects. La Niña originates from cold-water masses that flow from South America to the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This climatic aberration lasts for approximately one year and can either cause dry spells or floods in South America and Africa, and monsoons in Australia and Asia. Like El Niño, la Niña is still not fully understood by scientists, and its frequency is difficult to predict.

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