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Geography of Switzerland

Geography of Switzerland

Location: Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy, south of Germany

Geographic coordinates: 47 00 N, 8 00 E

Map references: Europe

Area:
total: 41,290 sq km
land: 39,770 sq km
water: 1,520 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey

Land boundaries:
total: 1,852 km
border countries: Austria 164 km, France 573 km, Italy 740 km, Liechtenstein 41 km, Germany 334 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked[?])

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: temperate, but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters; cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers

Terrain: mostly mountains (Alps in south, Jura in northwest) with a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Lake Maggiore[?] 195 m
highest point: Dufourspitze[?] 4,634 m

Natural resources: hydropower potential, timber, salt

Land use:
arable land: 10%
permanent crops: 2%
permanent pastures: 28%
forests and woodland: 32%
other: 28% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 250 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: avalanches, landslides, flash floods

Environment - current issues: air pollution from vehicle emissions and open-air burning; acid rain; water pollution[?] from increased use of agricultural fertilizers; loss of biodiversity

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea

Geography - note: landlocked; crossroads of northern and southern Europe; along with southeastern France and northern Italy, contains the highest elevations in Europe

See also : Rivers of Switzerland



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