Spain Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Spain?

Overview:

Spain is comprised of portions of the Iberian mainland, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, and the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on the North African coast. Spain’s most striking topographical features are its elevated central plateau and its internal division by mountain and river barriers. The peninsula rises sharply from the sea with only a narrow coastal plain except in the Andalusian lowlands. Most of the peninsula is a vast plateau broken by mountains, deep gorges, and broad, shallow depressions. Spain has few bays, virtually no coastal islands, and a scarcity of natural harbors. Knowledge of the geography of Spain is important to an understanding of the nation’s history.

Geography - note:

strategic location along approaches to Strait of Gibraltar; Spain controls a number of territories in northern Morocco including the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, and the islands of Penon de Velez de la Gomera, Penon de Alhucemas, and Islas Chafarinas

Climate:

Madrid's climate is predominantly dry, sunny, and agreeable. Because of its elevation (about 2,000 feet above sea level) and its proximity to mountains, Madrid often experiences wide variations in temperature between winter and high summer. In winter, temperatures drop slightly below freezing and many winter days can be uncomfortably cold. Summers are quite warm with average midday temperatures of 95°F to 100°F. Except at the height of summer, evenings and nights are cool. Daily mean temperature ranges from 50°F to 68°F during 8 months of the year. Rainfall is scarce, except during a brief rainy season in October and November and again in spring. Snow, uncommon in Madrid, usually becomes rain and slush within hours.

Spain Use of Natural Resources

Spain Environment

Climate:

Madrid's climate is predominantly dry, sunny, and agreeable. Because of its elevation (about 2,000 feet above sea level) and its proximity to mountains, Madrid often experiences wide variations in temperature between winter and high summer. In winter, temperatures drop slightly below freezing and many winter days can be uncomfortably cold. Summers are quite warm with average midday temperatures of 95°F to 100°F. Except at the height of summer, evenings and nights are cool. Daily mean temperature ranges from 50°F to 68°F during 8 months of the year. Rainfall is scarce, except during a brief rainy season in October and November and again in spring. Snow, uncommon in Madrid, usually becomes rain and slush within hours.

Terrain:

large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees Mountains in north

Natural Resources:

coal, lignite, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, uranium, tungsten, mercury, pyrites, magnesite, fluorspar, gypsum, sepiolite, kaolin, potash, hydropower, arable land

Natural Hazards:

periodic droughts, occasional flooding

volcanism: volcanic activity in the Canary Islands, located off Africa's northwest coast; Teide (elev. 3,715 m) has been deemed a "Decade Volcano" by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; La Palma (elev. 2,426 m), which last erupted in 1971, is the most active of the Canary Islands volcanoes; Lanzarote is the only other historically active volcano

Irrigated Land:

13,398 Square Miles
34,700 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

pollution of the Mediterranean Sea from raw sewage and effluents from the offshore production of oil and gas; water quality and quantity nationwide; air pollution; deforestation; desertification

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, 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

Spain Geography

Geographic Location Europe
Total Area 195,123 Square Miles
505,370 Square Kilometers
Land Area 192,656 Square Miles
498,980 Square Kilometers
Water Area 2,467 Square Miles
6,390 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 1,192 Miles
1,918 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 13,398 Square Miles
34,700 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Andorra 63.7 km, France 623 km, Gibraltar 1.2 km, Portugal 1,214 km, Morocco (Ceuta) 6.3 km, Morocco (Melilla) 9.6 km
Coastline 3,084 Miles
4,964 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 40 00 N, 4 00 W
Terrain large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees Mountains in north
Highest Point 3,718 Meters
Highest Point Location Pico de Teide (Tenerife) on Canary Islands 3,718 m
Lowest Point Location Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Natural Resources coal, lignite, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, uranium, tungsten, mercury, pyrites, magnesite, fluorspar, gypsum, sepiolite, kaolin, potash, hydropower, arable land
Time Zone UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

note: Spain has two time zones including the Canary Islands
Daylight saving time +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
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