Kiribati is located in Micronesia in the central Pacific Ocean, about 4 000 km south-west of Hawaii. It consists of 33 coral islands in three island groups; the Gilberts, the Phoenix Islands, and the Line Islands. Twenty-one are inhabited. Kiribati has a total land area of 811 km2, more than half in one island, Kiritimati Atoll (also known as Christmas Island). The islands extend about 3900 km from east to west, crossing the International Date Line, and about 2 100 km north to south, straddling the equator. They encompass over 3 million of km2 ocean.
All of the islands are atolls except for the island of Banaba (also known as Ocean Island) in the Gilberts. The sandy, infertile soils of the atolls limit natural and introduced vegetation.
Kiribati has a warm, humid, tropical oceanic climate, with average temperatures in the upper 20°s C. Annual rainfall, most of which falls between October and March, varies from about 3 000 mm in the northern islands to 1 000 mm or less in the southern islands.
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