Geography of Martinique

Vue depuis la Montagne du Vauclin

Martinique is an island located in the eastern part of the arc formed by the Lesser and Greater Antilles, an arc that separates the Caribbean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. It offers a great diversity of landscapes: steep mountains, green hills, jagged cliffs, calm beaches, etc.

Introduction of the geography of Martinique

Map of the Caribbean archipelagoMartinique is located at 14.38° N and 61.2° 2W at 4038mi from metropolitan France. The French department is located between the island of Dominica in the North and St. Lucia in the South in the Lesser Antilles.

Modest in size, 1,128 km² (436 square miles) , the island is only 64 km long and 24 km wide.

The relief of Martinique

Like many of the neighboring islands, Martinique is a mountainous relief and has a variety of original and amazing landscapes for an island essentially volcanic. They are organized around a number of units corresponding to the mass placed along the major axis of the island : NNW-SSE.

Mount PeleeThere are 3 major topographical areas Martinique :

  • The North is a volcanic area, hilly and lush consisted of recent volcanoes : Mount Pelee, which rises to 1397 meters and the Pitons du Carbet which at least three (in 5) exceed 1000 meters. This mountainous area is home to a complex orographic mountain system due to erosion and drainage. This is the area of the rainforest but also to the mist and rain. On the windward side, the relief softened regularly to the sea with large areas suitable for crops.
  • The Center is the area of the plains. The most important is the vast alluvial plain of Lamentin.
  • The South which is the more level portion of the island and is therefore the driest part of the island. Its highest point is Mount Vauclin, not exceeding 504 meters. This mountain is an ancient volcano smoothed by erosion and remain only hills or hillocks.

Climate

Perfect weather at Anse AzérotDue to the differences in relief, Martinique can be separated into two zones by a Lamentin-Trinité axis: the zone located to the south of this slightly uneven line is relatively dry and strongly sunny, while that of the North has a very high rainfall with the exception of a narrow coastal strip downwind.

From a general point of view, the climate of Martinique, of tropical maritime type is characterized by the mild temperatures and excellent ventilation punctuated by the trade winds, regular wind often providing a feeling of comfort despite a high almost permanent humidity. These two elements constitute the main assets offered to the Martinican agricultural sector.

Two seasons punctuate the activities on the island: Lent or the dry season and the rainy season.

Dry season begins in February and ends in April. This is when the sky is clearest and the sun is highest. It includes a particularly dry period known as "great drought" characterized by maximum sunshine.

Despite the dry and sunny weather that punctuates this season, the showers remain frequent but brief and not very intense. The trade winds are steady and sustained during this time of year. The average temperature is 77°F during these few months.

HurricaneThe rainy season begins in mid-June and ends in November. The rains are heavy and durable, but separated by a few periods of warm weather, poorly ventilated by the trade winds and high humidity. It's the hurricane season, or various storms, tropical depressions or waves that can last several days.

The amount of rainfall is a key element for the growth of crops and farmers are organized according to the rains to sow their seeds.

Temperatures

Meteo France, an organization that provides information on temperatures in MartiniqueIn its annual report for 2011, Météo France Martinique estimated that the average annual temperature was 81°F in Lamentin, a town in the center of the island.

This body responsible for contributing to the security of goods and people from a climate point of view (in particular by providing information, prevention and crisis management) estimated that this average was within the trend of global warming pronounced the last decade. This figure occupies the 4th position after the record years of temperatures recorded in 1998, 2005 and 2010.

Rainfall

Rain and rainbowAccording to Meteo France Martinique, 2011 was the wettest year since the implementation of measures from the mid-1900s. Indeed, it is no less than 2989 millimeters of rain were collected at Station Lamentin airport.

This significant increase reflects an increase of 42% compared to a normal year.