Western Sahara Geography Profile 2017

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LocationNorthern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Mauritania and Morocco
Geographic coordinates24 30 N, 13 00 W
Map referencesAfrica
Areatotal: 266,000 sq km
land: 266,000 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparativeabout the size of Colorado
Land boundariestotal: 2,049 km
border countries (3): Algeria 41 km, Mauritania 1,564 km, Morocco 444 km
Coastline1,110 km
Maritime claimscontingent upon resolution of sovereignty issue
Climatehot, dry desert; rain is rare; cold offshore air currents produce fog and heavy dew
Terrainmostly low, flat desert with large areas of rocky or sandy surfaces rising to small mountains in south and northeast
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 256 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Sebjet Tah -55 m
highest point: unnamed elevation 805 m
Natural resourcesphosphates, iron ore
Land useagricultural land: 18.8%
arable land 0%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 18.8%
forest: 2.7%
other: 78.5% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land0 sq km (2012)
Population distributionmost of the population lives in the two-thirds of the area west of the berm (Moroccan-occupied) that divides the territory; about 40% of that populace resides in Laayoune
Natural hazardshot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind can occur during winter and spring; widespread harmattan haze exists 60% of time, often severely restricting visibility
Environment - current issuessparse water and lack of arable land
Geography - notethe waters off the coast are particularly rich fishing areas

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on July 9, 2017

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