Norway Geography

Norway Geography

According to mcat-test-centers, Norway is a Northern European state, located in the Scandinavian Peninsula (323,779 km²). Capital: Oslo. Administrative division: 19 counties. Population: 5,109,056 (2014 estimate). Language: Bokmål (riksmål) and Nynorsk (landsmål) (official). Religion: Protestants 85.7%, other Christians 4.5%, Muslims 1.8%, others 8%. Currency unit: Norwegian krone (100 øre). Human Development Index: 0.944 (1st place). Borders: Russia and Finland (NE), Sweden (E); overlooks the Arctic Ocean and the Barents Sea (N), al North Sea (S) and Atlantic Ocean (W). Member of: Council of Europe, Nordic Council, EBRD, EFTA, NATO, OECD, UN, OSCE and WTO.


The Norwegian territory corresponds to a long strip of land, continuously mountainous (narrow plains are found only in the southeastern section of the country), which extends from N to S along the western edge of the Scandinavian Peninsula, and precisely from the North Cape, the extremity north of the European continent, to the coasts of the Skagerrak. It ends at the sea with a very jagged coast, carved by countless fjords and faced by a myriad of islands and rocks (50,000): mountainousness and continuous maritime penetration represent the morphological peculiarities of the country, giving it an organic unity. These elements derive their origin from the geological events that have affected, in addition to Norway, all of Scandinavia at various times. The extreme western portion of the Baltic Shield, that is the Precambrian backbone of Europe, Norway was subjected in the Paleozoic to the Caledonian orogeny, to which it owes the birth of its mountains, then peneplaned and in several occasions submerged by the waters. These reliefs, with mature forms, with vast plateaus and rounded peaks, were however “rejuvenated” by the Cenozoic orogeny, often assuming that alpine aspect (sometimes they are in fact defined, albeit improperly, Scandinavian Alps) typical of Cenozoic systems. In any case, this elevation has accentuated its mountainousness; among the major peaks, on which the border with Sweden often runs in northern Norway, are Glittertind (2472 m), Snøhetta (2286 m), Rondane (2183 m). Rejuvenation also gave new strength to erosive agents, especially glaciers. These in fact contributed extensively to shape the country, which was subject to the Pleistocene glaciations for a long time. In these periods there were vast ice caps with the formation of long tongues in the valley furrows that descend to the sea; on their retreat, flat trough valleys (U; kjølen), montonati plateaus (fjelde) and glacial lakes came to light. Today the glaciers cover a total area of ​​approx. 5000 km², of which over 800 km² belong to the Jostedalsbre, the largest in continental Europe. At the same time the sea level underwent considerable fluctuations, linked to the expansion and reduction of glacial masses. Ancient glacial valleys occupied by the sea are precisely the fjords, elongated, deep, branched: from the wide Trondheimsfjord to the Oslofjord, on whose northern branch the capital overlooks, the Sognefjord, over 200 km long and 1244 m deep, the Hardangerfjord at the foot of the homonymous glacier, etc. (often on the maps they are however indicated in the plural, i.e. Trondheimsfjorden, Oslofjorden etc., in consideration of the fact that most of the time it is not a single inlet but a complex of recesses, therefore of several fjords). No less characteristic of the fjords are the countless rocky islands (the so-called skjargård, or garden of the rocks), which face the Norwegian coasts: it is mostly the sharp emerged summits of a small coastal platform shattered by marine and glacial erosions. Real islands can only be found off the northwest coast where, beyond the Vestfjorden (actually today an arm of the sea), the Lofoten and Vesterålen emerge.


Due to the proximity of the watershed to the coast, the rivers of Norway are short, impetuous, frequently interrupted by rapids and waterfalls that limit their navigability; however, they are abundantly fed by glaciers and very suitable for hydroelectric exploitation. The most important is the Glomma, which crosses eastern Norway for 600 km from N to S and flows into the Oslo Fjord. The lakes, which cover a total area of ​​14,000 km², are very numerous (Mjøsa, Femund etc.) but of modest surface; they are all of glacial origin, deep and elongated, often similar to inland fjords.


The country is subpolar in terms of latitude, extending from latitude 58º to 71º N, so that a large part of the territory is located N of the Arctic Circle; Norway owes to this the length of the summer diurnal periods (famous is the phenomenon of the ” midnight sun ” which in the northernmost areas lasts 71 days) and on the other hand the persistence, during the long winter, of the nocturnal darkness, which only yields for a few hours in a grayish twilight. As for the temperatures, on the other hand, comparing those of territories located at the same latitudes, these are particularly mild: and this is due to the action of the warm Gulf Stream, a branch of which runs along the entire Norwegian coast and ensures that the surface waters never freeze. It follows that the climate is not very harsh, at least on the coasts, where it assumes oceanic characteristics (cool summers, mild winters, abundant rainfall) with frequent fogs, induced by the Gulf Stream; however, given that in its northern and central section Norway is little more than a strip of land along the sea, the conditions of a continental climate (severe temperature changes, winter severity, etc.) are significant only in the southern portion, where the territory is internal up to a width of 430 km. The arrangement in the direction of the meridians of the mountain ranges, whose ridge generally runs close to the coast, influences the trend of the isotherms and isoieties: temperatures and rains that are more than varying according to latitude, from N to S, vary from W to E. The winter average on the coast goes from –1 / –3 ºC in Oslo and Trondheim to + 2 / + 3 ºC of Bergen, while in the innermost mountainous sections it can reach –12 / –14 ºC; the summer values ​​have a smaller excursion going on average from 9/10 ºC to 12/14 ºC. The rains, brought by the Atlantic winds, decrease from the coastal area (where in some southwestern areas they even exceed 2000 mm per year) towards the interior: in Finnmark, values ​​of less than 500 mm per year are often recorded. Snowfalls are frequent.

Norway Geography