Córdoba is a province of Argentina, located in the center of the country. Neighboring provinces are (clockwise from the north): Santiago del Estero, Santa Fe, Buenos Aires, La Pampa, San Luis, La Rioja and Catamarca. Together with Santa Fe and Entre Ríos, the province is part of the economic and political association known as the Center Region.
Córdoba is the second most populous Argentine province, with 3,308,876 inhabitants,and the fifth by size, at about 165,321 km². Almost 41% of its inhabitants reside in the capital city, Córdoba, and its sourroundings, making it the second most populous metro area in Argentina.
Córdoba, located just north of the geographical center of the nation, is Argentina's fifth largest province. The main feature of the province is the presence of an extensive plain covering the eastern two thirds of the province, and the existence of three major mountain ranges which, combined, are known as Sierras de Córdoba: the easternmost range starts just west of the city of Córdoba and reaches altitudes of mostly around 1,000 meters (3,280 ft) in the southern portion, and over 1,500 meters (4,900 ft) further north, with a maximum altitude of 1,950 meters (6,400 ft) at Cerro Uritorco. West of this chain, two valleys contain most of the tourist spots in the province: the Calamuchita valley in the south, and the Punilla Valley in the north, home of scenic towns such as Villa Carlos Paz, Cosquín, La Cumbre and La Falda.
West of these valleys, the Sierras Grandes form the highest chain in the province: their altitude increases gradually to form a plateau of 2,000 to 2,300 meters (6,500 to 7,500 ft) known as Pampa de Achala, culminating with Cerro Champaqui on the western part, at 2,790 meters (9,150 ft). West of these mountains, there is an impressive drop towards the valley known as Valle de Traslasierra, and across the valley, the Sierras Orientales reach an altitude of 1,650 meters (5,400 ft) at Cerro Yerba Buena. On the northeast corner of the province, a natural depression forms an extensive salt lake called Laguna Mar Chiquita. The actual surface of the lake is 6,000 km² (15,000 mi²), but during extended dry periods (such as in the 1980s) it can be a third of that, with much higher salinity. The southeastern part of the province is home to numerous ponds, lakes and wetlands.
The climate of the province is predominantly temperate, with some regional variations. Generally speaking, summers are hot and humid, falls are pleasant, winters are extremely dry with strong variations in temperature, and springs are windy and variable. The eastern part of the province experiences summer average high temperatures between 30°C and 32°C (86F to 90F) and lows of 16°C to 18°C (60F to 64F), with frequent thunderstorms, heat waves with temperatures higher than 38°C (100F) alternating with periods of much dryer, pleasant weather following cold fronts. Monthly precipitation during this season ranges from 90 mm to 120 mm (3.5 to 4.7 inches). Nights are noticeably cooler in March, which is also the rainiest month, and April often brings very pleasant weather with highs around 23°C (73F) and lows around 11°C (52F). Starting in May, rainfall is low, with less than 25 mm (1 in) monthly during the winter. Frost arrives in late April in the south, and late May in the north.
Winter temperatures average a high of 15°C to 18°C (59F to 64F) and lows of 2°C to 4°C (36F to 39F), but marked variations are possible: northerly winds can push values up to 30°C (86F) and southerly winds can keep afternoon temperatures at 6°C (42F) and bring nighttime temperatures to -5°C (23F). The air is often humid in winter, and thick fog is very common. Snowfall is very rare, almost unheard of in the northeast, but snowstorms can occur: in 2007, between 10 cm and 20 cm (4 in to 8 in) covered a significant part of the region, and temperatures plummeted to -9°C in most areas (16F). Spring is very variable, alternating between very intense heat waves and cool weather periods with severe thunderstorms, hail and strong winds. Total precipitation is over 850 mm (33.5 in) along the border with Santa Fe, and diminishes to about 700 mm (27.5 in) in the west, reaching a minimum of about 600 mm (23.5) in the southernmost part of the province. This climate allows eastern Córdoba to be the nation's main producer of soybeans and peanuts, and a large producer of maize and dairy products.
The foothills of the Sierras are known for their pleasant weather: summer days are slightly cooler and the air feels much dryer despite high precipitation; winters are much dryer with less fog and less wind, and more pleasant sunny days. The eastern slopes of the sierras experience the highest precipitation: usually about 900 mm (35.5 in), with some spots averaging up to 1200 mm (47 in) which fall exclusively in the form of very heavy thunderstorms in the summer. Snowfall occurs more frequently in the sierras, but is rarely heavy due to the dryness of the air.
The weather in the Pampa de Achala is very variable because of the high altitude: generally speaking, the strong radiation provides pleasant summer afternoons, but temperatures at night can be very cold. Frost can happen throughout the year, and winters are extremely dry with nights well below 0°C (32F). Temperatures well under -15°C (5F) have been recorded, and snowfall is very common but in small quantities due to the lack of precipitation during the colder months. Summer thunderstorms can be very violent, bringing large hail, frequent lightning and high winds.
The region of Traslasierra is known for its markedly warmer climate: summer temperatures often reach well over 35°C (95F) and nights are often very warm. Fall arrives later than elsewhere, and spring arrives earlier as well. Winters are pleasant, with common light frost followed by very pleasant afternoons reaching about 19°C (66F). Precipitation is even more seasonal than in the rest of the province, falling exclusively in the summer, and reaching a total of 500 mm (24 in) to 700 mm (27.5 in). The warmer climate is excellent for the production of Mediterranean agricultural products such as figs, olives and grapes. The extreme northern and northwestern areas of the province are located on the transition between the temperate Pampa and the subtropical Gran Chaco: summers are consistently longer and warmer than in other areas, and extremes of 40°C (104F) are more frequent. Winters are shorter, with night temperatures similar to those further south, but with warmer days. This is the most drought-prone area of the province, with rainfall as little as 400 mm (15.5 in) annually.
Universidad Nacional de Córdoba
Facultad de Ciencias Médicas
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