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Located atop three tectonic plates (North American, Pacific and Cocos Plates), Mexico is one of the most geologically active regions of Earth. This has resulted in a varied topography, which includes the three Sierra Madre mountain ranges, the Mexican Altiplano and the flat lands around the Yucatan Peninsula. Also, The Tropic of Cancer (23° 26' 22'' N) effectively divides the country into northern temperate and southern subtropical zones.

Due to its topography and extensive territory (1,972,550 square kilometers or 761,606 square miles, ranked 14th largest worldwide) Mexico has one of the world's most diverse climates:

Arid or semiarid conditions are encountered in the Baja California Peninsula, the northwestern state of Sonora, the northern Altiplano, and also significant portions of the southern Altiplano. Rainfall in these regions averages between 300 and 600 millimeters (12-24 inches) per year, and temperature variations are pronounced, between 5°C (41°F) on winter up to 42°C (107°F) on summer months.

Low-lying areas along the Gulf of Mexico and Yucatan Peninsula receive in excess of 1,000 millimeters (40 inches) of rainfall in an average year, with the wettest region being the southeastern state of Tabasco, which typically receives approximately 2,000 millimeters (80 inches) of rainfall on an annual basis. These lands are mostly tropical savanna, with fairly constant temperatures averaging 24°C (75°F) and 28°C (83°F).

Towns and cities on the Mexican Altiplano, as well as those found along the Sierra Madre mountain ranges bellow the 1,000 meter mark (3,300 feet) have relatively constant, pleasant temperatures throughout the year between 16°C (61°F) and 20°C (68°F); the most common climate is subtropical highland. On the other hand, more northerly locations experience sizable seasonal variations. Above 2,000 meters (6,600 feet), temperatures drop as low as an average yearly range between 8°C (47°F) and 12°C (54°F). Parts of the northern Altiplano and high peaks in the Sierra Madre Occidental and the Sierra Madre Oriental occasionally receive significant snowfalls.

Due to the diversity of temperatures Mexico is composed by a wide variety of biomes and land uses:

  • Scrub forests and deserts: 29% - same size of Spain and Lithuania, or California and Illinois put together.
  • Forests of many kinds, including boreal, temperate and subtropical highland forests: 17% - roughly the size of Finland or New Mexico.
  • Tropical rainforest or 'jungle': 17%
  • Man-made pastures: 12% - roughly the size of Romania or slightly larger than Minnesota.
  • Naturally occurring pastures: 4% - roughly the size of the Czech Republic or slightly smaller than South Carolina.
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βˆ™ 2013-09-25 16:39:19
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Q: What is the climate of Mexico?
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