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Meetings Calendar 2006
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Geography and Climate


Geography

 

Area: 83 870.95 km²
Length of the State borders: 2 706 km
Highest mountain: Großglockner (3 798 m)
Biggest lake: Lake Constance (538.5 km², 11% of the shoreline is in Austria)
Longest river:
Danube (2 848 km, 350 km of which in Austria)

Source: Statistik Austria

 

Austria is situated in Central Europe. Approximately 60% of Austrian territory is mountainous and belongs to the Eastern Alps (Tyrol Central Alps, Hohe Tauern and Niedere Tauern, Northern Calcareous or Limestone Alps, Southern Calcareous Alps and Wienerwald). The Bohemian Massif is in Upper and Lower Austria, north of the Danube. The Granite and Gneiss Plateau, part of the Bohemian Massif, is geologically the oldest part of Austria. The large plains, such as the Alpine Foreland and the Vienna Basin, lie in the eastern part of Austria along the Danube. The Graz Basin is in southern Styria.

The most densely populated areas of settlement and economic activity are found in the foothills of the Alps and the Carpathians, the Vienna Basin and the Austrian part of the Pannonian Plain in the east.

Austria’s geographical position has long made it a crossroads for trade routes between the major European economic and cultural areas. Austria borders eight countries: Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Lichtenstein. Except for the last two, all these countries are part of the European Union.

 

Climate

 

Austria lies in a transition zone, with a predominantly Central European, maritime climate and often damp westerly winds in the west and north, and a dry, Pannonic continental climate with hotter summers and colder winters in the north-east and east of the country. The Austrian Southern Alps receive a great deal of precipitation from low-pressure areas developing over the Mediterranean.

Temperature

The highest mean annual temperatures of over 10°C are normally recorded in the northern Burgenland and in the centre of Vienna, while the mean annual air temperature on the Großglockner is a mere –8.7°C. The mean annual temperature range between Austria’s highest and lowest elevation is thus almost 20°C, compared with just 2°C from east to west between Vienna and Bregenz.

Sunshine

Austria receives a great deal of sunshine in the summer months. In the east and to some extent in the south of the country, the sun shines for more than 250 hours per month in the middle of summer. On summer afternoons in the mountains, the sunshine duration is often reduced by cumulus formation and showers. The areas most affected by this phenomenon are those along the main chain of the Alps (Hohe Tauern, Niedere Tauern) and large parts of the Northern Calcareous Alps.

Precipitation

Together with the main Alpine chain (Hohe Tauern, Niedere Tauern), the Bregenz Forest, the Allgäu Alps, the North Tyrolean Calcareous Alps, the Salzburg Calcareous Alps, the Tennen Mountains, the Dachstein massif and the “Tote Gebirge” are the wettest in the whole of Austria, with annual precipitation of over 2 000 l/m2. Annual precipitation in the Bregenz Forest can be as much as 3 000 l/m2.

Locations in the eastern Waldviertel, the Weinviertel, the Marchfeld, the Viennese Basin and the northern Burgenland, by contrast, receive less than 600 l/m2 precipitation in the course of a year. The area around Retz is considered to be the driest part of Austria, with a mean of 75 precipitation days and 440 l/m2 precipitation per year.

Snow

The quantity of snowfall depends mainly on altitude and location and varies considerably as a result. Below 1 200 m, most of the snow falls in January, the coldest month. At higher altitudes the period of heaviest snowfalls comes later, in March and April, owing to the milder, humid air masses. Most of the snow at the highest altitudes falls in May through to the beginning of June. The permanent snow line in the Northern Calcareous Alps is at 2 700 m, in the Hohe Tauern at 2 900 m and in the Ötz Valley Alps between 3 000 and 3 100 m.

 

Date: 01.02.2006