Poland Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Poland?

Overview:

Poland ranks seventh in Europe in area and population. Most of Poland consists of lowland plains. To the north are the Baltic Sea coast and a broad belt of lake land. In the center are broad, low-lying plains and vast forest belts. To the south, the land passes into chains of mountains—the Sudety in the west and the Carpathians in the east. These mountains combine to form the southern boundary of Poland. The Tatra Mountains, a part of the Carpathians, are the highest in Poland. Rysy Mountain rises 8,212 feet above sea level. At the foot of the Tatras lies the town of Zakopane, a year-round sports center.

One main seaport, Szczecin, is near the German border. Poland’s two other major port cities, Gdansk, and Gdynia, lie about 170 miles farther east, at the mouth of the Vistula River. Many summer resorts with beautiful beaches lie along the Baltic coast. About 200 miles north of Warsaw is a belt of lakes stretching from Olsztyn to Augustow, surrounded by the largest forest in Poland.

The main rivers are the Vistula, on which Warsaw and Krakow are situated; the Odra, whose northern course forms a part of the German border; the Narew, in northeastern Poland; the Warta, on which Poznan is located; and the Bug, part of which helps form Poland's eastern boundary.

In addition to Warsaw and the port cities, Poland has several other major cities. Krakow, a former capital, is noted for its beautiful Renaissance architecture. Wawel, the Castle Hill, is the former seat and present burial site of Poland’s past kings. Lodz is the center of Polish light industry. Poznan is an industrial and agricultural center and site of the International Poznan Fair. Other major cities are Wroclaw, Katowice, and Gdansk.

Geography - note:

historically, an area of conflict because of flat terrain and the lack of natural barriers on the North European Plain

Climate:

Poland’s climate is continental European. Winters can be severe, with heavy snows possible from December through March. Winter temperatures in Warsaw average about -3.9ºC to 0ºC. The lowest temperature in recent years was - 30ºC. Spring is usually cold and rainy. Summer can bring temperatures topping 37ºC, but a few days at about 32ºC is more typical. Autumn is usually cloudy and can be quite cold. Yearly rainfall averages about 59.69 centimeters.

Poland Use of Natural Resources

Poland Environment

Climate:

Poland’s climate is continental European. Winters can be severe, with heavy snows possible from December through March. Winter temperatures in Warsaw average about -3.9ºC to 0ºC. The lowest temperature in recent years was - 30ºC. Spring is usually cold and rainy. Summer can bring temperatures topping 37ºC, but a few days at about 32ºC is more typical. Autumn is usually cloudy and can be quite cold. Yearly rainfall averages about 59.69 centimeters.

Terrain:

mostly flat plain; mountains along southern border

Natural Resources:

coal, sulfur, copper, natural gas, silver, lead, salt, amber, arable land

Natural Hazards:

flooding

Irrigated Land:

447 Square Miles
1,157 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

situation has improved since 1989 due to decline in heavy industry and increased environmental concern by post-Communist governments; air pollution nonetheless remains serious because of sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, and the resulting acid rain has caused forest damage; water pollution from industrial and municipal sources is also a problem, as is disposal of hazardous wastes; pollution levels should continue to decrease as industrial establishments bring their facilities up to European Union code, but at substantial cost to business and the government

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Air Pollution, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94

Poland Geography

Geographic Location Europe
Total Area 120,728 Square Miles
312,685 Square Kilometers
Land Area 117,473 Square Miles
304,255 Square Kilometers
Water Area 3,255 Square Miles
8,430 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 1,893 Miles
3,047 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 447 Square Miles
1,157 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Belarus 407 km, Czech Republic 658 km, Germany 456 km, Lithuania 91 km, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) 206 km, Slovakia 444 km, Ukraine 526 km
Coastline 273 Miles
440 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 52 00 N, 20 00 E
Terrain mostly flat plain; mountains along southern border
Highest Point 2,499 Meters
Highest Point Location Rysy 2,499 m
Lowest Point -2 Meters
Lowest Point Location near Raczki Elblaskie -2 m
Natural Resources coal, sulfur, copper, natural gas, silver, lead, salt, amber, arable land
Time Zone UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
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