The Patagonian climate is by definition unpredictable, the changeable weather the consequence of different weather patterns converging in the area. On the one hand, we have the influence of the Antarctic continent in the south, then from the north the influence of the Southern Patagonia Ice Field, a mass of ice 300km in length and the third largest source of fresh water in the world. From the east we have the Atlantic Ocean, and from the west the Pacific Ocean, where cold air masses come into contact with warmer air masses, generating high and low air pressure systems.
Given these weather patterns, we always recommend that you come prepared for all four seasons of the year. Even in summer, it is possible to experience rain, sun and even a little bit of snow if you find yourself in a mountainous area, in the same day.
The strong characteristic wind of Patagonia mainly materializes between the months of October and April, although it can persist for the rest of the year, occurring with less frequency. Rainfall is also more common during these months, while snow falls mainly between June and August, mostly in areas of higher altitude. The average precipitation in the populated areas of Patagonia is around 400mm annually, increasing on the approach to the West Coast and the Pacific Ocean.
In summer, there is some rainfall, wind, and temperatures oscillate between 6ºC y 16ºC, although these can at times decrease a little during the night, and during the day reach maximums of up to 28ºC in the area of Torres del Paine. Such temperatures however do not last longer than a few weeks, sometimes not even days, and do not occur at any specific time. Summer days are long, to the point where on the 21st of December, sunset is not until 10.30 pm, and sunrise is at 4am, due to the far southern latitude where we are located.
During spring, the temperatures are pleasant, with temperatures ranging between 2ºC and 14ºC, increasing as the summer draws near. In regards to rain, spring isn’t a particularly wet season, however there is still sporadic rainfall, which is always welcome, as it is in summer, since it aids in preventing periods of drought. From the 21st of September onwards, after the wintertime and its long nights, the days increasingly lengthen, with daylight breaking at 7am and the sun setting at around 7:30pm in the springtime.
Winter across Patagonia is a peaceful time, during which the nights are long, starting as early as 4pm. Snowfall, which is becoming scarcer due to global warming, is a vital component in the region. The build up and later on the melting of snow provides the subterranean plates with nourishment, which is needed to create good grazing land for sheep, with livestock production being extremely important there in the springtime.
The temperatures can also drop to as low as minus 20ºC when nearing the polar regions, with maximums of up to 9ºC, although the temperatures more typically oscillate between minus 2ºC and 7ºC.
Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of year in Patagonia, given the large amount of forest cover where deciduous species of southern beech trees, known as Nothofagus, shed their leaves in a display of yellows and reds, and where the shortening of the days bring to life some of the most beautiful sunsets in Patagonia.