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Switzerland: Geography

Geography Switzerland
Location:
Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy
Geographic coordinates:
47 00 N, 8 00 E
Map references:
Europe
Area:
total: 41,290 sq km
water: 1,520 sq km
land: 39,770 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey
Land boundaries:
total: 1,852 km
border countries: Austria 164 km, France 573 km, Italy 740 km, Liechtenstein 41 km, Germany 334 km
Coastline:
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
Climate:
temperate, but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters; cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers
Terrain:
mostly mountains (Alps in south, Jura in northwest) with a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Lake Maggiore 195 m
highest point: Dufourspitze 4,634 m
Natural resources:
hydropower potential, timber, salt
Land use:
arable land: 10.57%
permanent crops: 0.61%
other: 88.82% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
250 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
avalanches, landslides, flash floods
Environment - current issues:
air pollution from vehicle emissions and open-air burning; acid rain; water pollution from increased use of agricultural fertilizers; loss of biodiversity
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
landlocked; crossroads of northern and southern Europe; along with southeastern France, northern Italy, and southwestern Austria, has the highest elevations in the Alps

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Source: The CIA World Fact Book 2003

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