United Kingdom Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in United Kingdom?

Overview:

The islands comprising the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) lie off the northwest coast of the European Continent. The English Channel, the Straits of Dover, and the North Sea separate the islands from the Continent. At the closest point, they are only 17 miles from the French coast. The capital city of London is in the southeast and lies on the same latitude as Winnipeg, Canada. The UK has a total land area of 94,217 square miles.

The British Isles have a complex geology with a rich variety of scenery and impressive contrasts in topography. Highland Britain contains the principal mountain ranges which vary from 4,000 to 5,000 feet and occupy most of the north and west of the country. Lowland Britain, almost entirely composed of low, rolling hills and flatlands, lies to the southeast.

Prevailing southwesterly winds, influenced by the Gulf Stream, make Britain's climate temperate and equable year round. Weather patterns frequently change, but few temperature extremes occur. Temperatures range from a mean of 40°F in winter to about 60°F in summer. A low of 20°F sometimes occurs in winter, and a high of 90°F may rarely occur in summer. Average annual rainfall is 30-50 inches, usually distributed evenly throughout the year. Cloud cover is persistent, however, limiting sunshine to an average of about 6-7 hours a day in summer and 1-2 hours a day in winter.

Geography - note:

lies near vital North Atlantic sea lanes; only 35 km from France and linked by tunnel under the English Channel; because of heavily indented coastline, no location is more than 125 km from tidal waters

Climate:

Prevailing southwesterly winds, influenced by the Gulf Stream, make Britain's climate temperate and equable year round. Weather patterns frequently change, but few temperature extremes occur. Temperatures range from a mean of 40°F in winter to about 60°F in summer. A low of 20°F sometimes occurs in winter, and a high of 90°F may rarely occur in summer. Average annual rainfall is 30-50 inches, usually distributed evenly throughout the year. Cloud cover is persistent, however, limiting sunshine to an average of about 6-7 hours a day in summer and 1-2 hours a day in winter.

United Kingdom Use of Natural Resources

United Kingdom Environment

Climate:

Prevailing southwesterly winds, influenced by the Gulf Stream, make Britain's climate temperate and equable year round. Weather patterns frequently change, but few temperature extremes occur. Temperatures range from a mean of 40°F in winter to about 60°F in summer. A low of 20°F sometimes occurs in winter, and a high of 90°F may rarely occur in summer. Average annual rainfall is 30-50 inches, usually distributed evenly throughout the year. Cloud cover is persistent, however, limiting sunshine to an average of about 6-7 hours a day in summer and 1-2 hours a day in winter.

Terrain:

mostly rugged hills and low mountains; level to rolling plains in east and southeast

Natural Resources:

coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, lead, zinc, gold, tin, limestone, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, potash, silica sand, slate, arable land

Natural Hazards:

winter windstorms; floods

Irrigated Land:

880 Square Miles
2,280 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

continues to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (has met Kyoto Protocol target of a 12.5% reduction from 1990 levels and intends to meet the legally binding target and move toward a domestic goal of a 20% cut in emissions by 2010); by 2005 the government reduced the amount of industrial and commercial waste disposed of in landfill sites to 85% of 1998 levels and recycled or composted at least 25% of household waste, increasing to 33% by 2015

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, 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, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

United Kingdom Geography

Geographic Location Europe
Total Area 94,058 Square Miles
243,610 Square Kilometers
Land Area 93,409 Square Miles
241,930 Square Kilometers
Water Area 649 Square Miles
1,680 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 224 Miles
360 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 880 Square Miles
2,280 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Ireland 360 km
Coastline 7,723 Miles
12,429 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 54 00 N, 2 00 W
Terrain mostly rugged hills and low mountains; level to rolling plains in east and southeast
Highest Point 1,343 Meters
Highest Point Location Ben Nevis 1,343 m
Lowest Point -4 Meters
Lowest Point Location The Fens -4 m
Natural Resources coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, lead, zinc, gold, tin, limestone, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, potash, silica sand, slate, arable land
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

note: applies to the United Kingdom proper, not to its overseas dependencies or territories
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