LAND & CLIMATE
Region: South America
Neighbors: Uruguay is bordered on the north and northeast by Brazil, on the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by the Río de la Plata, and on the west by Argentina. The Río Uruguay forms the entire western boundary.
Size Comparison: Less than half the size of Paraguay
Except for tidal marshland along the Atlantic coast, southern Uruguay consists of grassy, rolling plains. In the north and northwest is a low plateau, the Cuchilla de Haedo, crossed by ridges of hills that rise to 377 meters (1,237 feet) above sea level. The Cuchilla Grande range, which extends generally south from Brazil to a point near Punta del Este, dominates eastern Uruguay. It rises to 501 meters (1,644 feet) at Mirador Nacional, the country’s highest elevation in Uruguay.
Major Rivers and Lakes
The Río Negro, which flows southwest, is the principal river of the Uruguayan interior. The south-flowing Río Uruguay forms the entire western boundary before emptying into the wide Río de la Plata estuary.
Weather and Climate
In Uruguay’s temperate climate, the average temperature for the warmest months, January and February, is 22°C (72°F). The coldest month, June, averages 10°C (50°F). Rainfall is well distributed and averages about 890 millimeters (about 35 inches) a year. During the winter months, cold storms known as pamperos blow in from the southwest, but frost is virtually unknown in most parts of the country.
Overgrazing and a natural lack of tree cover have led to soil erosion, especially with increasing agricultural production since 1980. Further pressure to increase agricultural output is threatening natural habitats such as the eastern wetlands. Air and water pollution is a serious problem for Uruguay. One-fifth of the country is affected by acid rain generated in Brazil.