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    Indian Ocean Geography - 1991

      Total area: 73,600,000 km2; Arabian Sea, Bass Strait, Bay of Bengal, Java Sea, Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Strait of Malacca, Timor Sea, and other tributary water bodies

      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)

      Coastline: 66,526 km

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

      Terrain: surface dominated by counterclockwise gyre (broad, circular system of currents) in the south Indian Ocean; unique reversal of surface currents in the north Indian Ocean--low 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: endangered marine species include the dugong, seals, turtles, and whales; oil pollution in the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, and Red Sea

      Note: major choke points include Bab el Mandeb, Strait of Hormuz, Strait of Malacca, southern access to the Suez Canal, and the Lombok Strait; ships subject to superstructure icing in extreme south near Antarctica from May to October

      NOTE: The information regarding Indian Ocean on this page is re-published from the 1991 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Indian Ocean Geography 1991 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Indian Ocean Geography 1991 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 08-Feb-03
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