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Indian Ocean Geography 1996

    • Location:
      body of water between Africa, Antarctica, Asia, and Australia

    • Map references:

    • Area:

        total area:
        73.6 million sq km

        comparative area:
        slightly less than eight times the size of the US; third-largest ocean (after the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean, but larger than the Arctic Ocean)

        includes Arabian Sea, Bass Straight, Bay of Bengal, Great Australian Bight, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Strait of Malacca, and other tributary water bodies

    • Coastline:
      66,526 km

    • International disputes:
      some maritime disputes (see littoral states)

    • Climate:
      northeast monsoon (December to April), southwest monsoon (June to October); tropical cyclones occur during May/June and October/November in the northern Indian Ocean and January/February in the southern Indian Ocean

    • Terrain:
      surface dominated by counterclockwise gyre (broad, circular system of currents) in the southern Indian Ocean; unique reversal of surface currents in the northern Indian Ocean, low atmospheric pressure over southwest Asia from hot, rising, summer air results in the southwest monsoon and southwest-to-northeast winds and currents, while high pressure over northern Asia from cold, falling, winter air results in the northeast monsoon and northeast-to-southwest winds and currents; ocean floor is dominated by the Mid-Indian Ocean Ridge and subdivided by the Southeast Indian Ocean Ridge, Southwest Indian Ocean Ridge, and Ninety East Ridge; maximum depth is 7,258 meters in the Java Trench

    • Natural resources:
      oil and gas fields, fish, shrimp, sand and gravel aggregates, placer deposits, polymetallic nodules

    • Environment:

        current issues:
        endangered marine species include the dugong, seals, turtles, and whales; oil pollution in the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, and Red Sea

        natural hazards:
        ships subject to superstructure icing in extreme south near Antarctica from May to October

        international agreements:

    • Note:
      major chokepoints include Bab el Mandeb, Strait of Hormuz, Strait of Malacca, southern access to the Suez Canal, and the Lombok Strait

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