These islands lie about 640 km/400 mi southwest of Sri Lanka, and extend in a long chain some 1,900 km/1,200 mi from north to south in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean between 8°N and 0.5°S.
There are over 1,190 islands, many of them merely low-lying coral reefs; only 203 islands are inhabited.
The Maldives have a tropical climate with abundant rainfall and moderately high temperatures around the year.
The table for Minicoy is representative of the northern islands. The islands near or south of the equator have rain more evenly distributed throughout the year or a maximum fall in the period November to March.
Daily hours of sunshine average three to four in the wetter months and as much as eight to nine in the drier season.
The northern islands are very occasionally affected by violent storms as tropical cyclones develop in the Arabian Sea between August and November. These bring very strong winds and torrential rain.
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