GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE

        Okinawa, an elongated island, lies in a northeast-southwest orientation and is found at 26o 30'N, 128o 00'E. The main island of Okinawa, at 106km in length and 31km at the widest point, has a maximum elevation of 498m. It is 485 square miles in area, about a third the size of Rhode Island. The main island is located between the East China Sea on the West and the North Pacific Ocean on the East; it is the largest in a chain of 72 islands which stretch for 602km. Incidentally, Okinawa is also the most heavily populated island of the Ryukyu Archipelago. A census conducted by the Prefecture Development Department reported the population at the end of October 1993 was 1,255,852.

        The name "Okinawa" has an interesting origin: the word itself means "sea rope." The early inhabitants visualized Okinawa, when viewed from a distance, as looking like a piece of rope floating on the ocean.

        The terrain of the northern two-thirds of the island is mountainous and forested. The southern third is hilly, rolling country and contains most of the population. The island's subtropical climate is hot and humid and typhoons frequently strike in Summer. The principle economic activities are agriculture, fishing, food processing, and the manufacture of textiles and pottery. U.S. military bases and tourism are also important to the economy. Naha, on the southern end of the island is the most populous city and major port.

        By virtue of Okinawa's relative isolation from major geographic land masses (approximately 800km East of China), biologists would expect to find a high number of endemic species (those organisms found only in a particular area) located within the archipelago. Indeed, this is true. It has been reported that the Ryukyu Archipelago contains many endemics and forms one of the world's most important centers of biogeographical evolution. Because of this, the area is often referred to internationally as the Galapagos of the Orient.



CLIMATIC DATA
( temperature expressed as oF [oC] )
MONTH
Mean
High
Mean
Low
Extreme
High
Extreme
Low
Mean
Precipitation
JAN66 [18.9]55 [12.8]81 [27.2]37 [2.8]4.86" (12.34cm)
FEB67 [19.4]56 [13.3]83 [28.3]37 [2.8]4.65" (11.81cm)
MAR70 [21.1]59 [15.0]82 [27.8]39 [3.9]6.10' (15.49cm)
APR75 [23.9]65 [18.3]88 [31.1]46 [7.8]6.50" (16.51cm)
MAY80 [26.7]70 [21.1]91 [32.8]53 [11.7]9.95" (25.27cm)
JUN85 [29.4]76 [24.4]95 [35.0]62 [16.7]11.13" (28.27cm)
JUL89 [31.7]79 [26.1]97 [36.1]70 [21.1]7.13" (18.11cm)
AUG88 [31.1]79 [26.1]95 [35.0]69 [20.5]10.05" (25.53cm)
SEP87 [30.5]76 [24.4]93 [33.9]64 [17.8]7.94" (20.17cm)
OCT82 [27.8]71 [21.7]90 [32.2]53 [11.7]6.59" (16.74cm)
NOV76 [24.4]65 [18.3]88 [31.1]50 [10.0]5.10" (12.95cm)
DEC70 [21.1]59 [15.0]84 [28.9]42 [5.5]4.44" (11.28cm)

Annual precipitation approximately 85" (216cm)

Period of Record: Jan. 1946 - Dec. 1995 (time period used to determine above values)
[Data taken at Kadena AFB]

        I've included a I've included a Google Interactive Satellite Map for all of Japan which of course includes Okinawa in Southeran Japan, as well as an interactive storm map viewer showing storms anywhere in the world.

        I've also included a bit of information on tidal variation for the island if your interested in the tidal range of water for the current year.

Current Okinawa Air Temperature

Copyright © 2010 Robert F. Bolland