Paraguay Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Paraguay?

Overview:

Located in the heart of South America, Paraguay is a landlocked, agricultural country. The Parana-Paraguay River system is Paraguay’s commercial access to the outside world. Rivers and their tributaries largely define Paraguay's boundaries, and the Paraguay River divides the country into two dissimilar sections, east and west.

The eastern section consists of rolling, fertile farming areas and grasslands, together with large, wooded areas and jungle patches near the Brazilian border. Most of the country's population live in the east and engage in small-scale agriculture. Asuncion and other commercially important towns-Encarnacion, Ciudad del Este, Pedro Juan Caballero, Concepcion, Coronel Oviedo, and Villarrica are in this area, and most are accessible by paved roads. The western section, nearly two-thirds of Paraguay's total area, is called the Chaco. It is a low-lying plateau covered with grassy meadows, bogs, spiny bushes, palms, and small trees. Lacking roads and navigable rivers, much of the region is inaccessible. Only 3% of the population live in this area.

The riverfront elevation of Asuncion is 177 feet above sea level. Residential areas are situated on low hills that rise another 200 feet. Elevations throughout Paraguay are moderate, the highest range of hills, located in the eastern region, rises to about 2,000 feet.

Geography - note:

landlocked; lies between Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil; population concentrated in southern part of country

Climate:

Paraguay's climate is seasonal and subject to abrupt changes. It is subtropical, with summer and winter seasons opposite those in the United States. Winds are generally moderate, but high winds accompanied by thunder and electrical storms are common, especially in summer. The long, hot summer lasts from October through March, with January average maximum temperature 91ºF and mean temperature 81øF. Severe hot spells with very high humidity are common. Temperatures often exceed 100ºF during the day from December to February (the official record high temperature is 109ºF), with little relief at night.

Winter extends from June through August. Cold snaps of 4 or 5 days with temperatures in the low 40s and high 30s are interspersed with several days in the upper 70s and low 80s. Frosts occur rarely. The official record low in Asuncion is 32ºF, although the damp air make it seem much colder. With frequent and abrupt changes, from winter to summer-like weather and back again (temperature changes of 20ºF-50ºF are common), Relative humidity ranges between 67% and 78% (monthly averages) year round and is particularly high in summer.

Asuncion's average 59-inch annual rainfall is well distributed seasonally. Slightly greater amounts fall in hotter months. Torrential rains cause annual floods in riverside communities. The Chaco, which receives little rainfall, becomes semiarid in its westernmost reaches. During rainy periods, however, water covers large areas due to the impermeable clay subsoil.

Paraguay Use of Natural Resources

Paraguay Environment

Climate:

Paraguay's climate is seasonal and subject to abrupt changes. It is subtropical, with summer and winter seasons opposite those in the United States. Winds are generally moderate, but high winds accompanied by thunder and electrical storms are common, especially in summer. The long, hot summer lasts from October through March, with January average maximum temperature 91ºF and mean temperature 81øF. Severe hot spells with very high humidity are common. Temperatures often exceed 100ºF during the day from December to February (the official record high temperature is 109ºF), with little relief at night.

Winter extends from June through August. Cold snaps of 4 or 5 days with temperatures in the low 40s and high 30s are interspersed with several days in the upper 70s and low 80s. Frosts occur rarely. The official record low in Asuncion is 32ºF, although the damp air make it seem much colder. With frequent and abrupt changes, from winter to summer-like weather and back again (temperature changes of 20ºF-50ºF are common), Relative humidity ranges between 67% and 78% (monthly averages) year round and is particularly high in summer.

Asuncion's average 59-inch annual rainfall is well distributed seasonally. Slightly greater amounts fall in hotter months. Torrential rains cause annual floods in riverside communities. The Chaco, which receives little rainfall, becomes semiarid in its westernmost reaches. During rainy periods, however, water covers large areas due to the impermeable clay subsoil.

Terrain:

grassy plains and wooded hills east of Rio Paraguay; Gran Chaco region west of Rio Paraguay mostly low, marshy plain near the river, and dry forest and thorny scrub elsewhere

Natural Resources:

hydropower, timber, iron ore, manganese, limestone

Natural Hazards:

local flooding in southeast (early September to June); poorly drained plains may become boggy (early October to June)

Irrigated Land:

259 Square Miles
670 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

deforestation; water pollution; inadequate means for waste disposal present health risks for many urban residents; loss of wetlands

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Paraguay Geography

Geographic Location South America
Total Area 157,047 Square Miles
406,752 Square Kilometers
Land Area 153,398 Square Miles
397,302 Square Kilometers
Water Area 3,649 Square Miles
9,450 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 2,482 Miles
3,995 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 259 Square Miles
670 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Argentina 1,880 km, Bolivia 750 km, Brazil 1,290 km
Geographic Coordinates 23 00 S, 58 00 W
Terrain grassy plains and wooded hills east of Rio Paraguay; Gran Chaco region west of Rio Paraguay mostly low, marshy plain near the river, and dry forest and thorny scrub elsewhere
Highest Point 842 Meters
Highest Point Location Cerro Pero (Cerro Tres Kandu) 842 m
Lowest Point 46 Meters
Lowest Point Location junction of Rio Paraguay and Rio Parana 46 m
Natural Resources hydropower, timber, iron ore, manganese, limestone
Time Zone UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time +1hr, begins first Sunday in October; ends fourth Sunday in March
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