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Kiribati Geography Profile 2018

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LocationOceania, group of 33 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean, straddling the Equator; the capital Tarawa is about halfway between Hawaii and Australia
Geographic coordinates1 25 N, 173 00 E
Map referencesOceania
Areatotal: 811 sq km
land: 811 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes three island groups - Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, and Phoenix Islands - dispersed over about 3.5 million sq km (1.35 million sq mi)
Area - comparativefour times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries0 km
Coastline1,143 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climatetropical; marine, hot and humid, moderated by trade winds
Terrainmostly low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 2 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed elevation on Banaba 81 m
Natural resourcesphosphate (production discontinued in 1979), coconuts (copra), fish
Land useagricultural land: 42%
arable land 2.5%; permanent crops 39.5%; permanent pasture 0%
forest: 15%
other: 43% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land0 sq km (2012)
Population distributionconsists of three achipelagos spread out over an area roughly the size of India; the eastern Line Islands and central Phoenix Islands are sparsely populated, but the western Gilbert Islands are some of the most densely settled places on earth, with the main island of South Tarawa boasting a population density similar to Tokyo or Hong Kong
Natural hazardstyphoons can occur any time, but usually November to March; occasional tornadoes; low level of some of the islands make them sensitive to changes in sea level
Environment - current issuesheavy pollution in lagoon of south Tarawa atoll due to heavy migration mixed with traditional practices such as lagoon latrines and open-pit dumping; ground water at risk
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note21 of the 33 islands are inhabited; Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Makatea in French Polynesia, and Nauru; Kiribati is the only country in the world to fall into all four hemispheres (northern, southern, eastern, and western)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on January 20, 2018