and the Kwajalein Atoll
||Kwajalein Atoll is
located in the Republic of the Marshall Islands in the west
central Pacific Ocean.
lies 2,100 nautical miles (nmi) southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii.
It is in the same general latitude as the southern Philippines
(less than 700 nmi north of the equator) and the same general
longitude as New Zealand, 2,300 nmi to the south.
||Kwajalein and the surrounding
Marshall Islands are west of the International Date Line
and therefore one day ahead of the Continental United States.
Kwajalein is 17 hours ahead of the east coast of the United
States during standard time and 16 hours ahead during daylight
savings time. Example: Kwajalein at noon Sunday equals Washington
D.C. at 7:00 PM EST (8:00 PM EDT) Saturday.
The Republic of the Marshall Islands
(RMI) consists of a double chain of 34 atolls with a total
land area of 74 square miles. In the Marshall Islands, land
rights and clan membership are transmitted by a mother to
each of her children. The use of Kwajalein Atoll as a missile
range is made possible through lease agreements negotiated
with the RMI.
Kwajalein Atoll is s coral reef formation
in the shape of a crescent loop enclosing the world’s
largest lagoon with a surface area of 1,100 square miles.
Situated on the reef enclosing the
lagoon are approximately 100 small islands with a total land
area of 5.6 square miles. Kwajalein, one of the atoll’s
three largest islands, is ½ mile wide and 2 ½
miles long (approximately 1.2 square miles in area). The atoll’s
largest dimension is 75 nmi from Kwajalein Island to Ebadon
Island and its average width is 15 nmi.
Approximately 13,500 Marshallese citizens
live on 14 islands within the atoll, with the largest population
(12,500) living on Ebeye, a 15-minute ferry ride from Kwajalein
Island. About 1,000 Marshallese citizens are employed at USAKA.
The land surface of Kwajalein Island,
which has very little effect on the climate of the locality,
has an average elevation of less than 10 feet above mean sea
level (msl). Highest points of the island are 12 to 15 feel
Kwajalein, located less than 700 nmi
north of the equator, has a tropical marine climate characterized
by (1) relatively high annual rainfall, and (2) warm to hot,
humid weather throughout the year.
Temperatures vary little from day
to day and month to month, with average high temperatures
of 88 degrees Fahrenheit and average low temperatures of 80
degrees Fahrenheit. Highs occur in the early afternoon and
lows occur with showers at any time of the day, or in the
early morning if there are no showers.
Because of the low latitude, there
are only slight seasonal variations in the length of daylight
periods and the altitude of the sun at Kwajalein. As a result,
the variation of the amount of solar energy received is small.
The small variation in solar energy
and the marine influence are the principle reasons for the
uniform temperature between the coldest month and the warmest
month, a variance of about 2 degrees Fahrenheit.
September, October, and November are
the wettest months. Light easterly winds, almost constant
cloudiness, and frequent moderate to heavy showers prevail
during the wet season.
The dry season includes the period from mid-December to mid-May
and is characterized not so much by a lack of showers as by
light showers of short duration. In this season, the trade
winds are persistent, blowing from the northeast at 15-20
knots almost continuously. Cloudiness is at a minimum and
the sky is less than half-covered most of the time, but clear
skies are rare.
Severe storms and damaging winds are
uncommon in the vicinity of Kwajalein. However, weaker depressions
may form near the island during any season. Some of these
intensify and eventually develop into typhoons after moving
westward away from the island. These depressions can cause
heavy rainfall in the Kwajalein Atoll.
The relative humidity is uniformly
high throughout the year, and is slightly higher in the wet
season than in the dry season. The combination of high humidity
and proximity of the saltwater ocean presents a corrosion
US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Additional weather information can be found at www.rts-wx.com