Kiribati Geography and Climate

By | August 29, 2021

Kiribati geography

The Republic of Kiribati is an island nation in the southwestern Pacific Ocean and includes the former Gilbert Islands, the Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands. The national territory of Kiribati consists of a large number of islands in Micronesia and Polynesia, which lie north and south of the equator. The approximately 811 square kilometers of land mass of Kiribati is distributed over a sea ​​area of ​​3.5 million square kilometers. Given this gigantic extent, it is no wonder that the 33 islands, most of which consist only of atolls, “get lost” in the sea. Bairiki, the capital of Kiribati, is located on the Tarawa Atoll.

As a country located in Oceania defined by, Kiribati is divided into three island groups: the Gilbert, Phoenix and Line Islands. The last group of islands also includes Christmas Island, which is the largest coral island in the world with an area of ​​388 square kilometers. The Gilbert Islands form the largest group of islands with 16 atolls, followed by the Phoenix and Line Islands, each consisting of eight atolls. The mostly flat coral atolls enclose shallow lagoons and are covered by coconut palms and breadfruit trees. Only the island of Banaba, about 400 kilometers west of the Gilbert Islandsis not only of purely volcanic origin, at 81 meters it is also the highest point in Kiribati. While the Line and Gilbert Islands are separated from the equator, the Phoenix Islands are completely south of it.

As global warming continues and the sea ​​level rises with it, there is a risk that the islands, which are less than two meters above the surface of the water, will gradually be flooded. The growth of corals is far less than the rise in water levels and it is assumed that the Pacific will rise by more than a meter over the next 100 years.

Kiribati climate

Although Kiribati stretches over several thousand kilometers, all of its islands have a tropical and always humid climate. Because of its location right on the equator, temperatures are high all year round and hardly fluctuate. The mean values ​​range between 26 and 34 ° C, depending on the atoll and the month. Even during the day, the thermometer does not vary by more than 5 ° C. The relative humidity is also high all year round. During the day, the trade winds blowing from the Pacific ensure that the humidity is still bearable. But at night it becomes very uncomfortable.

Kiribati receives a lot of rain throughout the year, which usually comes down in short, violent thunderstorms. On the islands north and south of the equator, between 2,000 and 3,000 mm fall per year. The islands directly on the equator receive “only” 1,000 mm of precipitation.

Kiribati is threatened by tropical cyclones, which can occur especially between November and March. The island nation is hit by a violent cyclone every two to three years. The northern islands receive most of the rain between June and November. Precipitation comes south of the equator mainly in the months of November to April. Directly at the equator, the rain falls evenly over the year.

Despite truly tropical rainfall, vacationers everywhere in Kiribati can usually expect blue skies and lots of sunshine. Because the sun shows up an average of eight hours a day. The water temperatures also fit into the picture of a tropical paradise. With a year-round warm 24-28 ° C, they are ideal for a dream vacation under palm trees.

Best time to visit Kiribati

Although the weather is consistently tropical and warm throughout the year, there is an ideal travel time for the islands of Kiribati. It is in the months of June / July to October. Then the time of the tropical cyclones is over and there is less precipitation than in the other months. But even at this time you have to reckon with short downpours, which will soon be replaced by bright sunshine.

Kiribati – key data

Area: 811 km²

100,743 residents (July 2011 estimate, CIA). Micronesians 98.8%, others 1.2% (2000 census).

Population density: 124 residents per km²

Population growth:
1.249% per year (2011, CIA)

Capital: South Tarawa (also Teinainano Urban Council, about 45,000 residents in the South Tarawa district)

Highest point:
unnamed point on the island of Banaba, 81 m

Lowest point: Pacific Ocean, 0 m

Form of government: The Gilbert Islands were declared a British protectorate in 1892 and a British colony in 1915. In 1941 they were captured by Japan in the Pacific War. In 1943, US forces won victories against the entrenched Japanese occupation on the islands of Makin and Tarawa. In 1971 the Gilbert Islands received self-government and on July 12, 1979 they were given complete independence from Great Britain under the new name of Kiribati. In 1979, the United States gave up claims to the sparsely populated Phoenix and Line Islands in a friendship treaty with Kiribati.

Kiribati has been a presidential republic since 1979 and is represented in the Commonwealth. The constitution is from the same year. The Kiribati Parliament (Maneaba ni Maungatabu) consists of one chamber with 46 members. The head of state of Kiribati is directly elected every 4 years.

Administrative division: 3 administrative units (units): Gilbert Islands, Line Islands and Phoenix Islands

Head of State and Government: President Anote Tong, since July 10, 2003

Language: The official languages ​​in Kiribati are Gilbertese and English.

Religion: Roman Catholic 52%, Protestant (Congregational) 40%, others (including Seventh-Day Adventist, Muslims, Baha’i, Latter-day Saints, Church of God) 8% (1999)

Local time: CET + 11 h – main area of ​​Kiribati
On Kiribati there is no changeover between summer and winter time.
The time difference to Central Europe is + 11 h in winter and + 10 h in summer.

CET + 12 h – Canton and Enderbury
Island There is no changeover between summer and winter time on Canton and Enderbury Island.
The time difference to Central Europe is + 12 h in winter and + 11 h in summer.

CET + 1 p.m. – Christmas Island (Kiritimati)
On Christmas Island there is no change between summer and winter time.
The time difference to Central Europe is + 13 h in winter and + 12 h in summer.

International phone code: + 686

Internet Mains

Voltage: 240 V, 50 Hz

Kiribati Geography and Climate