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Three zones of climate determine the region’s plant and animal life. The northwestern corner of

the peninsula receives winter cyclonic cold fronts bringing rain and fog from the north. Precipitation in this part ranges from 5 to 11 inches (130 to 280 mm) annually, and the vegetation and fauna are similar to those of southern California in the United States. Southward from El Rosario and east of the Juárez–San Pedro Mártir mountains is an excessively arid zone extending through the waist of the peninsula to La Paz. Parts of this great central desert are quite barren, but most of it is covered with forests of plants adapted to arid conditions, notably the giant cactus, or cardon (Pachycereus), and two other species, the boojum tree (Idria columnaris) and the elephant tree (Bursera microphylla). The region south of La Paz receives late summer tropical rains averaging 5 inches (130 mm) annually on the coast and 25 inches (635 mm) or more in the higher mountains, with desert shrub in the lowlands and semideciduous forests in the more humid mountains. Lowland temperatures in the peninsula range from below freezing (even in the south) to higher than 100 °F (38 °C). The gulf coast is hot and humid in summer, while the Pacific side is much cooler.
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