Peru is located on the west coast of South America, bordered by the South Pacific Ocean, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile. Peru can be divided into three major regions, Costa (Coast) - the 3,079-kilometer (1,900 mile) Pacific Coastline; Sierra (Andes) - the central Andean Highlands; Selva (Amazon Basin) the remote eastern vastness of the Amazonian jungle. The best know of these is the central high sierra of the Andes, with its massive peaks, steep canyons, and extraordinary pre- Columbian archaeological sites. The Andes are still one of the world's most unstable mountain ranges, with frequent earthquakes, landslides, and flash floods. Peru is South America's third largest country. The absolute location of Peru is 10 degrees south and 76 degrees west. Peru is located in the tropics near the equator; Peru's weather is not what you'd expect. On Earth you can find a total of 32 kinds of climate and Peru has 28 of them. On a trip through Peru you might find hot deserts, dry forests, humid savannas, plain rainforests, cold plateaus, cool steppes and icy mountains. Average temperatures decrease about 1.7-Celsius degrees with 450-m increase in elevation. The climate in Peru is strongly influenced by altitude. In the southern hemisphere, the seasons are reversed compared to the northern hemisphere. The Peruvian capital enjoys a particular microclimate originated in the cold current of Humboldt, which skirts to the coast. During the winter, the city is covered with a thick fog very wet, which in general stagnates all the day. In July and August the weather is colder and warmer clothing is recommended. Climatically, it is a desert of remarkable aridity associated with cold ocean waters along the shore. Air moving landward becomes chilled over these waters. Onshore, a relatively cool and heavy layer of surface air underlies warmer air. For this reason, the turbulence needed to generate precipitation is absent, although the surface air does produce heavy fogs and mists during the cooler part of the year, moderately temperatures somewhat and providing some moisture. Every few years, El Niño, a warm current from the central Pacific, heavily influences the weather in Peru. El Niño has a worldwide impact, and changes the entire climate, from Brazil to Australia, from Africa to Canada. El Niño is concentrated along the coast of Peru and Ecuador. It is the strongest climatical phenomenon on earth. El Niño appeared again in 1998 as one of the most severe ever, causing flooding over Peru's deserts and extreme draught over Australia and Southeast Asia. In the northern desert district of Piura, a lake was born as a result of the immense rainfall. This lake was even bigger than Lago Junín, Peru's second largest lake, but of course it was only temporary. El Niño means little child, and is named after the Christmas Child, as it appears usually around Christmas time. Most Peruvians are "mestizo" a term that usually refers to a mixture of Amerindians and Peruvians of European descent. Peruvians of European descent make up about 15% of the population; there also are smaller numbers of person of African, Japanese, and Chinese descent. In the past decade, Peruvians of Asian heritage have made significant advancements in business and political fields; a past president, several past cabinet members, and several members of the Peruvian congress are of Japanese or Chinese descent. Socioeconomic and cultural indicators are increasingly important as identifiers. Peru has two official languages, Spanish and the foremost indigenous language, Quencha. Spanish is used by the government and the media and in education and commerce. Amerindians who live in the Andean highlands speak Quecha and Aymara and are ethnically distinct from the diverse indigenous gropus who live on the eastern side of the Andes and in the tropical lowlands adjacent to the Amazon basin. The relationship between Hispanic...
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