Next week sees the start of the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.
Covering over 3.2 million square miles, the country occupies around half the landmass of South America and is the world’s fifth largest country.
Whilst the far north is in the northern hemisphere, Brazil is mostly south of the equator, extending to latitude 330S.
It is no surprise then that Brazil’s weather varies massively, with five climate zones, and whilst it will be the southern hemisphere ‘winter’, it is more apt to refer to ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ seasons in Brazil.
England’s opening group match is in the Amazonian city of Manaus.
Situated in the north-west, just three degrees south of the equator, Manaus is in Brazil’s equatorial climate zone.
Despite the match not kicking off until 6pm local time, temperatures may still be around 30C which, combined with a relative humidity over 80%, will make playing conditions physically exhausting.
The England team then move 1,600 miles south-eastwards into the sub-tropical climate zone, with matches in Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte.
Lying at altitudes of over 700m, typical daytime maxima are a cooler 24C and with the matches being played in the cities’ drier season, playing conditions should be more bearable, although the afternoon kick offs still mean conditions much hotter than our players are used to.
Should England win the group, the next match takes place in the north-east city of Recife.
June and July are two of the region’s wettest months with average rainfall over 150mm, around three times the Bucks average.
Lying within the tropical climate zone, daily temperatures climb to 30C, and don’t usually drop below 24C at night, so playing conditions will be sticky if not wet.
The other possible location for a second round England match, as well as the final, is Rio de Janeiro. Situated on the Atlantic coast in the south-east, conditions are likely to be similar to Sao Paulo, with temperatures in the mid-20’s.
Back home, rain today will die out, leaving tomorrow drier and brighter.
Showery, possibly thundery, rain is then expected on Friday and over the weekend, although it is looking particularly warm in any hazy sunshine.