Norway Travel Guide
Norway Geography, Climate and Environment
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Typical Norwegian lowland landscape near the Trondheimsfjord
Norway comprises the western part of Scandinavia in Northern Europe. The rugged coastline, broken by huge fjords and thousands of islands, stretches over 2,500 km and over 83,000 km including the fjords and islands. Norway shares a 2,542 km land border with Sweden, Finland, and a short border line to Russia at the east. To the west and south, Norway is bordered by the Norwegian Sea, the North Sea, and Skagerak. The Barents Sea washes on Norway's northern coasts.
At 385,252 km², Norway is slightly larger than Germany, but, unlike Germany, much of the country is dominated by mountainous or high terrain, with a great variety of natural features caused by prehistoric glaciers and varied topography. The most noticeable of these are the fjords: deep grooves cut into the land flooded by the sea following the end of the Ice Age. The longest is Sognefjorden. Norway also contains many glaciers and waterfalls.
The land is mostly made of hard granite and gneiss rock, but slate, sandstone and limestone are also common, and the lowest elevations contain marine deposits. Due to the Gulf Stream and prevailing westerlies, Norway experiences warmer temperatures and more precipitation than expected at such northern latitudes, especially along the coast. The mainland experiences four distinct seasons, with colder winters and less precipitation inland. The northernmost part has a mostly maritime Subarctic climate, while Svalbard has an Arctic tundra climate. The southern and western parts of Norway experiences more precipitation, and have milder winters than the south-eastern part. The lowlands around the capital Oslo has the warmest and sunniest summers, but also cold weather and snow in wintertime. Average temperatures have risen the last decades, decreasing the amount of days with snow cover in the lowlands.
Due to Norway's high latitude, there are large seasonal variations in daylight. From late May to late July, the sun never completely descends beneath the horizon in areas north of the Arctic Circle (hence Norway's description as the "Land of the Midnight Sun") and the rest of the country experiences up to 20 hours of daylight per day. Conversely, from late November to late January, the sun never rises above the horizon in the north, and daylight hours are very short in the rest of the country. Throughout Norway, one will find stunning and dramatic scenery and landscape. The west coast of southern Norway and the coast of North Norway are among the most impressive coastlines anywhere in the world.
The 2008 Environmental Performance Index put Norway in second place, after Switzerland, based on the environmental performance of the country's policies.
Source: Wikipedia Encyclopedia
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