Geography of East Timor

The geography of East Timor exhibits a mountainous terrain on the eastern half of the island of Timor in Southeast Asia (or Oceania depending on definitions).[lower-alpha 1] East Timor includes the eastern half of Timor, the Ocussi-Ambeno region on the northwest portion of the island of Timor, and the islands of Atauro and Jaco. The country is located northwest of Australia in the Lesser Sunda Islands at the eastern end of the Indonesian Archipelago. 'Timor' is a Portuguese derivation of 'Timor', the Malay word for "Orient"; the island of Timor is part of the Malay Archipelago and is the largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. East Timor is the only Asian nation to lie entirely within the Southern Hemisphere. The Loes River is the longest with a length of 80 km (50 mi). This river system covers an area of 2,184 km2 (843 sq mi). It is a small country with a land size of 14,919 km2 (5,760 sq mi). The exclusive economic zone is 70,326 km2 (27,153 sq mi).[1]

Geography of East Timor
ContinentAsia
RegionSoutheast Asia
Coordinates8°50′S 125°55′E
AreaRanked 154th
  Total14,919 km2 (5,760 sq mi)
  Land100%
  Water0%
Coastline706 km (439 mi)
BordersIndonesia: 253 km (157 mi)
Highest pointTatamailau (2,963 m or 9,721 ft)
Lowest pointTimor Sea, Savu Sea, and Banda Sea
0 m (0 ft)
Longest riverLoes River
80 km (50 mi)
Largest lakeIra Lalaro
1.9 km2 (1 sq mi)
ClimateTropical
TerrainMountainous and rugged
Natural resourcesGold, petroleum, natural gas, manganese, marble
Natural hazardsLandslides are common; earthquakes; and tsunamis.
Environmental issuesdeforestation and soil erosion
Exclusive economic zone70,326 km2 (27,153 sq mi)
Detailed map of East Timor

Statistics

Area
  • Total: 14,874 km²
  • Land: 14,874 km²
  • Water: 0 km²
Land boundaries
  • Total: 2,538 km (1,577 mi)
  • Border countries: Indonesia (253 km or 157 mi)
Coastline
706 km (439 mi)
Maritime claims

Elevation extremes

Natural resources
Gold, petroleum, natural gas, manganese, marble
Land use
  • Arable land: 10.1%
  • Permanent crops: 4.9%
  • Permanent pasture: 10.1%
  • Forest: 49.1%
  • Other: 25.8% (2011)
Irrigated land
346.5 km2 (134 sq mi) (2003)

Climate

Tropical; hot and humid with distinct rainy and dry seasons. Tropical cyclones do occur along with floods.
Climate data for Dili (1914-1963)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 36.0
(96.8)
35.5
(95.9)
36.6
(97.9)
36.0
(96.8)
35.7
(96.3)
36.5
(97.7)
34.1
(93.4)
35.0
(95.0)
34.0
(93.2)
34.5
(94.1)
36.0
(96.8)
35.5
(95.9)
36.6
(97.9)
Average high °C (°F) 31.3
(88.3)
31.1
(88.0)
31.2
(88.2)
31.5
(88.7)
31.3
(88.3)
30.7
(87.3)
30.2
(86.4)
30.1
(86.2)
30.3
(86.5)
30.5
(86.9)
31.4
(88.5)
31.1
(88.0)
30.9
(87.6)
Daily mean °C (°F) 27.7
(81.9)
27.6
(81.7)
27.4
(81.3)
27.4
(81.3)
27.0
(80.6)
26.8
(80.2)
25.5
(77.9)
25.1
(77.2)
25.4
(77.7)
26.0
(78.8)
27.2
(81.0)
27.4
(81.3)
26.6
(79.9)
Average low °C (°F) 24.1
(75.4)
24.1
(75.4)
23.5
(74.3)
23.5
(74.3)
22.8
(73.0)
21.9
(71.4)
20.8
(69.4)
20.1
(68.2)
20.5
(68.9)
21.5
(70.7)
23.0
(73.4)
23.6
(74.5)
22.4
(72.3)
Record low °C (°F) 19.0
(66.2)
16.2
(61.2)
16.5
(61.7)
18.2
(64.8)
13.2
(55.8)
14.5
(58.1)
12.4
(54.3)
11.8
(53.2)
13.4
(56.1)
16.1
(61.0)
18.0
(64.4)
16.7
(62.1)
11.8
(53.2)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 139.5
(5.49)
138.7
(5.46)
132.7
(5.22)
104.3
(4.11)
74.9
(2.95)
58.4
(2.30)
20.1
(0.79)
12.1
(0.48)
9.0
(0.35)
12.8
(0.50)
61.4
(2.42)
144.9
(5.70)
908.8
(35.77)
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 13 13 11 9 6 4 3 1 1 2 6 11 80
Average relative humidity (%) 80 82 80 77 75 72 71 70 71 72 73 77 75
Mean monthly sunshine hours 189.1 161.0 235.6 234.0 266.6 246.0 272.8 291.4 288.0 297.6 270.0 220.1 2,972.2
Mean daily sunshine hours 6.1 5.7 7.6 7.8 8.6 8.2 8.8 9.4 9.6 9.6 9.0 7.1 8.1
Source: Deutscher Wetterdienst[2]

Environment

Natural hazards
Landslides are common; earthquakes; and tsunamis.
Environment - current issues
Widespread use of slash and burn agriculture has led to deforestation and soil erosion.
Environment - international agreements
Biodiversity, climate change, climate change-Kyoto Protocol, desertification

References

  1. Exclusive Economic Zones – Sea Around Us Project – Fisheries, Ecosystems & Biodiversity – Data and Visualization.
  2. "Klimatafel von Díli, Insel Timor / Ost-Timor" (PDF). Baseline climate means (1961-1990) from stations all over the world (in German). Deutscher Wetterdienst. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  • Much of the material in this article is adapted from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and 2012.
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