Portugal Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Portugal?

Overview:

Portugal, in Europe’s southwest corner, is part of the Iberian Peninsula. The country is made up of the mainland and the Azores and Madeira Islands. On the north and east, Portugal is bordered by Spain; on the south and west by the Atlantic Ocean.

The Tagus River, flowing west into the Atlantic at Lisbon divides mainland Portugal into two distinct topographical and climatic regions. The northern part of the country is mountainous. Its climate is relatively cool and rainy. In the south there are low, rolling plains. The climate is drier and warmer, particularly in the interior.

Lying about 800 miles west of Lisbon in the Atlantic Ocean, the Azores are a chain of nine mountainous islands of volcanic origin. Their climate tends to be moist and moderate throughout the year. The total land area of the nine islands is 888 sq. miles.

The two main islands and the numerous smaller, uninhabited islands that make up the Madeira chain are located in the Atlantic Ocean about 350 miles west of Morocco. The islands are mountainous and rugged, with a mild year-round climate. Total land area is slightly over 300 sq. miles.

Geography - note:

Azores and Madeira Islands occupy strategic locations along western sea approaches to Strait of Gibraltar

Climate:

Mainland Portugal experiences two distinct seasons. From late October to mid-May rain is frequent and sometimes heavy. Temperatures may drop into the low 30s at night during the coldest months, with daytime highs in the 50s and 60s. Annual variations in rainfall can be considerable, with years of flooding followed by years of drought. The remainder of the year is normally sunny with minimal rainfall. Days are pleasant, with temperatures seldom exceeding 95° F, except in the southern interior of the country. Afternoons and evenings are breezy, with nighttime temperatures in the 60s and low 70s. Spells of intense heat are infrequent and last only a few days.

The Tagus River, flowing west into the Atlantic at Lisbon divides mainland Portugal into two distinct climatic regions. The northern part is relatively cool and rainy. In the south the climate is drier and warmer, particularly in the interior.

The Azores climate tends to be moist and moderate throughout the year.

Portugal Use of Natural Resources

Portugal Environment

Climate:

Mainland Portugal experiences two distinct seasons. From late October to mid-May rain is frequent and sometimes heavy. Temperatures may drop into the low 30s at night during the coldest months, with daytime highs in the 50s and 60s. Annual variations in rainfall can be considerable, with years of flooding followed by years of drought. The remainder of the year is normally sunny with minimal rainfall. Days are pleasant, with temperatures seldom exceeding 95° F, except in the southern interior of the country. Afternoons and evenings are breezy, with nighttime temperatures in the 60s and low 70s. Spells of intense heat are infrequent and last only a few days.

The Tagus River, flowing west into the Atlantic at Lisbon divides mainland Portugal into two distinct climatic regions. The northern part is relatively cool and rainy. In the south the climate is drier and warmer, particularly in the interior.

The Azores climate tends to be moist and moderate throughout the year.

Terrain:

mountainous north of the Tagus River, rolling plains in south

Natural Resources:

fish, forests (cork), iron ore, copper, zinc, tin, tungsten, silver, gold, uranium, marble, clay, gypsum, salt, arable land, hydropower

Natural Hazards:

Azores subject to severe earthquakes

Irrigated Land:

2,254 Square Miles
5,837 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

soil erosion; air pollution caused by industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution, especially in coastal areas

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Environmental Modification

Portugal Geography

Geographic Location Europe
Total Area 35,556 Square Miles
92,090 Square Kilometers
Land Area 35,317 Square Miles
91,470 Square Kilometers
Water Area 239 Square Miles
620 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 754 Miles
1,214 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 2,254 Square Miles
5,837 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Spain 1,214 km
Coastline 1,114 Miles
1,793 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 39 30 N, 8 00 W
Terrain mountainous north of the Tagus River, rolling plains in south
Highest Point 2,351 Meters
Highest Point Location Ponta do Pico (Pico or Pico Alto) on Ilha do Pico in the Azores 2,351 m
Lowest Point Location Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Natural Resources fish, forests (cork), iron ore, copper, zinc, tin, tungsten, silver, gold, uranium, marble, clay, gypsum, salt, arable land, hydropower
Time Zone UTC 0 (5 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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