Sri Lanka Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Sri Lanka?

Overview:

A pear-shaped island in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka lies 18 miles from India at its closest point. It has an area of 25,332 square miles, a length of 268 miles, a width of 139 miles. Located in the tropical zone between 5 N and 9 N and between 80 E and 82 E.



Sri Lanka has many areas of scenic beauty and historic interest. The island consists of
two main topographical sections: the mountainous south-central region which rises to 8,281 feet above sea level and the low-lying northern, eastern, and southwestern coastal plains. Dense vegetation covers a large part of Sri Lanka, particularly the southern and western coasts. Rubber and coconut trees grow in the midlands and lowlands, and the highlands have vast tea estates.



In Colombo, temperatures rarely rise above 90 F or drop below 70 F; relative humidity varies from 70% during the day to 90% at night. The mountainous districts have an average day temperature of about 60 F, but at night it drops rapidly, sometimes to near freezing in winter in places such as Nuwara Eliya (altitude of 5,905 feet).

Geography - note:

strategic location near major Indian Ocean sea lanes

Climate:

Monsoons produce two rainy seasons. The southwest monsoon lasts roughly from May to September. During this period, the southwestern part of the island, including Colombo, receives much of its average annual rainfall of 100 inches.

The northeast monsoon, from about October or November through February, provides the northern and eastern parts of the island virtually all their average annual rainfall of 60 inches. Monsoon showers can become torrential in the Colombo area. December through March generally proves the driest period.

Sri Lanka Use of Natural Resources

Sri Lanka Environment

Climate:

Monsoons produce two rainy seasons. The southwest monsoon lasts roughly from May to September. During this period, the southwestern part of the island, including Colombo, receives much of its average annual rainfall of 100 inches.

The northeast monsoon, from about October or November through February, provides the northern and eastern parts of the island virtually all their average annual rainfall of 60 inches. Monsoon showers can become torrential in the Colombo area. December through March generally proves the driest period.

Terrain:

mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior

Natural Resources:

limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, phosphates, clay, hydropower

Natural Hazards:

occasional cyclones and tornadoes

Irrigated Land:

2,201 Square Miles
5,700 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by poaching and urbanization; coastal degradation from mining activities and increased pollution; freshwater resources being polluted by industrial wastes and sewage runoff; waste disposal; air pollution in Colombo

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Sri Lanka Geography

Geographic Location Asia
Total Area 25,332 Square Miles
65,610 Square Kilometers
Land Area 24,954 Square Miles
64,630 Square Kilometers
Water Area 378 Square Miles
980 Square Kilometers
Irrigated Land 2,201 Square Miles
5,700 Square Kilometers
Coastline 833 Miles
1,340 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 7 00 N, 81 00 E
Terrain mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior
Highest Point 2,524 Meters
Highest Point Location Pidurutalagala 2,524 m
Lowest Point Location Indian Ocean 0 m
Natural Resources limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, phosphates, clay, hydropower
Time Zone UTC+5.5 (10.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
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