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Western Sahara Geography 1996

    • Location:
      Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Mauritania and Morocco

    • Map references:

    • Area:

        total area:
        266,000 sq km

        land area:
        266,000 sq km

        comparative area:
        slightly smaller than Colorado

    • Land boundaries:
      total 2,046 km, Algeria 42 km, Mauritania 1,561 km, Morocco 443 km

    • Coastline:
      1,110 km

    • Maritime claims:
      contingent upon resolution of sovereignty issue

    • International disputes:
      claimed and administered by Morocco, but sovereignty is unresolved and the UN is attempting to hold a referendum on the issue; the UN-administered cease-fire has been currently in effect since September 1991

    • Climate:
      hot, dry desert; rain is rare; cold offshore air currents produce fog and heavy dew

    • Terrain:
      mostly low, flat desert with large areas of rocky or sandy surfaces rising to small mountains in south and northeast

    • Natural resources:
      phosphates, iron ore

    • Land use:

        arable land:

        permanent crops:

        meadows and pastures:

        forest and woodland:


    • Irrigated land:
      NA sq km

    • Environment:

        current issues:
        sparse water and arable land

        natural hazards:
        hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind can occur during winter and spring; widespread harmattan haze exists 60% of time, often severely restricting visibility

        international agreements:

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