Friday, October 4, 2013

Geography of Marshall Islands

The Republic of the Marshall islands consists of 29 atolls each made up of many islets and 5 islands in the central Pacific between 4 degrees and 14 degrees North, and 160 degrees and 173 degrees East. The atolls and islands are situated in two almost parallel chain-like formations known as the Ratak (Sunrise) group and Ralik (Sunset) group. The total number of islands and islets in the whole Republic is approximately 1,225 spreading across a sea area of over 750,000 square miles. The total land area is about 70 square miles (181 square kilometers). The mean height of the land is about 7 feet above sea level (2 meters).
The Marshall Islands, east of the Carolines, are divided into two chains: the western, or Ralik, group, including the atolls Jaluit, Kwajalein, Wotho, Bikini, and Eniwetok; and the eastern, or Ratak, group, including the atolls Mili, Majuro, Maloelap, Wotje, and Likiep. The islands are of coral reef types and rise only a few feet above sea level. The Marshall Islands comprise an area slightly larger than Washington, DC.

The weather in the Marshall Islands is tropical - hot and humid, but tempered by trade-winds which prevail throughout the year. The average temperature hovers around 80 degrees Fahrenheit and rarely fluctuates. This is one of the most outstanding features of the climate, in fact, the range between the coolest and the warmest months averages less than 1 degree Fahrenheit. Also interesting is the fact that nights, although they feel cooler, are actually 2-4 degrees warmer than the average daily minimum, this is because the lowest temperatures usually occur during heavy showers in the daytime. Like elsewhere in the Pacific, the skies are quite cloudy. Cumuliform clouds are predominant but anostratus-altocumulus and cirriform clouds are also present most of the time. Tropical storms are very rare; although, in the last 3 years there have been three major cyclones. Much more common are minor storms of the easterly wave type, especially from March to April and October to November