As the World Cup begins in Brazil, one of the biggest challenges for players and fans alike will be adapting to the wide variety of weather they are likely to encounter.
Brazil is a massive country, larger than the US, and covering almost half of South America. It extends from north of the equator to well south of the Tropic of Capricorn.
There will inevitably be huge variations in climate between 5 degrees north and 34 degrees south.
The topography splits the country into four distinct areas. Looking at each one in turn:
1. The Amazon basin: Arena Amazonia, Manaus. Hot and very humid. Although June is the start of the dry season here, heavy showers and thunderstorms are still likely.
The main issue for teams which play with a high tempo is sustaining it with temperatures, during match times, between 25 and 30 degrees C. Relative humidity may reach as high as 95 percent, which inhibits the body’s ability to cool itself by sweating.
England play Italy here in a Group D fixture on June 14 and both teams are likely to struggle in the conditions. Expect the managers to make use of all their substitutes during the game.
2. The Brazilian plateau: Estadio Nacional, Brasilia; Arena Pantanal, Cuiaba; Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte.There is a good chance that all locations will remain dry for the duration of the tournament. Although further from the equator, this region can be hot and fairly humid with temperatures in the mid 30s C.
3. The tropical east coast: Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza, Arena das Dunas, Natal; Arena Pernambuco, Recife; Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, Maracana, Rio de Janeiro. Forteleze, Natal and Recife receive much of their rainfall during the summer months. There is a good chance that matches here, particularly Fortaleza will be played in pouring rain. Although temperatures are likely to be in the mid to upper 20s C, the humidity is unlikely to be a major issue.
The humidity and rainfall tend to decrease southwards towards Rio. Here temperatures can be expected to be in the range 18 to 24C, with moderate humidity. Such conditions will be appreciated by European teams.
4. The southern states: Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo; Arena da Baixada, Curitiba; Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Allegre. The weather conditions here are similar to those found in Uruguay and northern Argentina. Weather systems moving up from the South Atlantic can bring changeable weather with the potential for wet and windy weather at times during June.
Temperatures between 9 and 19C and low humidity will be considered ideal conditions for football by many people. But during this part of the winter season, there can be outbreaks of very cold air which comes up from the Antarctic region. In such circumstances, temperatures can fall well below freezing.
So from bitter cold, to steaming heat, Brazil has it all. Whichever team emerges triumphant at June’s end will have overcome the best opposition and a wide range of weather.