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Because Kazakstan is so far from the oceans, the climate is sharply
continental and very dry. Precipitation in the mountains of the east
averages as much as 600 millimeters per year, mostly in the form of snow,
but most of the republic receives only 100 to 200 millimeters per year.
Precipitation totals less than 100 millimeters in the south-central
regions around Qyzylorda. A lack of precipitation makes Kazakstan a sunny
republic; the north averages 120 clear days a year, and the south averages
260. The lack of moderating bodies of water also means that temperatures
can vary widely. Average winter temperatures are -3°C in the north
and 18°C in the south; summer temperatures average 19°C in the
north and 28°-30°C in the south. Within locations differences
are extreme, and temperature can change very suddenly. The winter air
temperature can fall to -50°C, and in summer the ground temperature
can reach as high as 70°C.
Data as of March 1996