Sri Lanka Climate and Hydrography

For a tropical country, Ceylon’s climate is relatively healthy. The proximity to the equator manifests itself in the high temperature throughout the year, but the heat is less oppressive than in most of India, being mitigated by sea breezes. The daytime excursion is small, only 7 ° on average in Colombo. The annual one is also very mild: January is generally the coldest month and May the hottest, but along the coast the difference in temperatures of the two months is only 3 °. The average annual temperature of the coastal regions is about 27 °, 3. Inland there are various climatic resorts: noteworthy is that of Nuwara Eliya, with a pleasantly mild climate throughout the year. The amount of rain varies greatly from place to place: from less than 1000 mm. in dry regions, to over 5000 mm. in exposed locations. The mountains and southwestern coasts receive abundant rainfall from the SW monsoon. (June-October), the eastern slopes and north-eastern coasts have them later (November-December) from the NE monsoon. In the mountains, the constant fogs of the rainy season are a very unpleasant phenomenon. The regions of N. and SE. of the island are rather arid.

The following data show the two main types of climate that have been found on the island.

The rivers of Ceylon flow radially from the central mountain mass and are not of great importance: in the driest limestone plains of the north many of them are led to feed reservoirs for irrigation, elsewhere they flow into low lagoons strewn with coconut palms. They are navigable only in their lower reaches and only for indigenous boats carrying products from the interior. The coastal lagoons are also not very accessible and Ceylon has only two natural harbors suitable for ships of any size: Trincomalee and Galle. The longest river is the Mahaweli-Ganga (331 km.); another fifteen watercourses measure more than 100 km. in length each.

Natural regions. – Ceylon can be divided into three distinct natural regions.

The mountain region central, formed by a series of chains with NE.-SO direction. separated by deep valleys. The tree species, almost all evergreen, tend to get lower and lower with increasing altitude and above 1500 m. the trees are too small for the timber to be used. Rubber plantations and tea and cocoa crops are concentrated in this region. The sides of the valleys, often very steep, are carefully terraced for the cultivation of paddy (rice). It is also in this region that the famous gems of Ceylon are found, of which there are hundreds of small quarries. The ancient capital of Ceylon, Kandy, at 500 meters above sea level and 115 km. by rail from Colombo; Peradeniya, a few kilometers away from it, famous for its botanical gardens; and Nuwara Eliya,

The flat coastal area below 300 meters above sea level, excluding the northern end of the island. The lower and wetter districts (O. and SW.) Are densely cultivated (rice) and populated; the higher regions are covered with the characteristic mixed tree crops of the Sinhalese. Each farmer cultivates coconut palms, areca, mangoes, along with yams, pepper and other small plants in his land. Coconut palms grow along the coast. The shells of the walnuts are left to macerate in the low lagoons to obtain the fiber.

According to, the coconut industries employ a lot of people for drying the kernels, making coconut oil and processing the fibers. Areca (betel nut) is also grown for export. Of the spices for which Ceylon has been so famous, the most important is still cinnamon, which needs a slightly sandy soil and is grown in the maritime area. Other spices are cardamom and carnation. Lemongrass oil, obtained from a herb, is mainly prepared in the SO. Fishing, which is an important industry on the coast, is done with the well-known catamarans constructed with coconut palm trunks. On the west coast is the capital of Ceylon, Colombo (v.), Which now has a good artificial port. Before this was completed, Galle, in the SW., Was the busiest transit port; it is in fact quite good, but the entrance is made dangerous by the rocks and receives the SW monsoon in full. Trincomalee, on the north-east coast, also has a good natural harbor and is gaining more importance.

The northern limestone plain which occupies the entire northern part of Ceylon and does not rise above 100 msm. Most of the region receives about 1000 mm. of rain a year, but the ground is arid and poor, largely uncultivated and covered with scrub. The palm tree blooms there. The crops are helped by numerous reservoirs, generally very old, which are nothing more than small artificial lakes that in the rainy season are filled with water, which is then used at the beginning of the dry season. Jaffna, on the peninsula of the same name, is the most important city in the region. The port of Talaimannar is in daily communication with India by means of steamers. To the south of the Mannar peninsula opens the gulf of the same name, famous for pearl fishing.

Sri Lanka Climate


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