Physiography of Barbados
Barbados is, in many ways, a Caribbean
anomaly. The island is not technically a Caribbean island at all - it lies
outside the main Lesser Antilles chain, about 300 km northeast of Trinidad
and 150 km east of the Lesser Antilles, alone in the Atlantic Ocean. Barbados
is about 34 km north to south, and 22 km at its widest point. This teardrop
shaped island comprises 430 square km of coral limestone capped hills and
Barbados lies in the belt of northeast
trade winds and generally has a subhumid to humid tropical climate. The
mean annual temperature is 24-28 degrees C and seasonal variations are
small. Most rain, 1750-2120 mm/yr falls over the central and higher parts
of the island, which act as regional recharge areas whereas the least rain,
1100-1250 mm/yr, falls along the topographically low north and south coastal
areas, which act as regional discharge areas. Generally topographically
low coastal areas have low rainfall and high evapo-transpiration, whereas
the topographically higher areas have greater rainfall and less evapo-transpiration.
Most precipitation falls between September and December.
Seawater temperatures off the west
coast range from 29.5 degrees C in the autumn to 26.0 degrees C in February.
The island is situated in the North Equatorial Current. Salinity is variable
and ranges from 32 to 36 ppt; low salinity water masses drifting northward
around Barbados are believed to come from the Amazon and Orinoco River
Barbados is a low-lying island
Surf pounding the Atlantic coast