Geography of Poland

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Geography of Poland

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Schematic map of Poland

Poland is mostly a lowland country, with upland areas and mountain ranges in the south. Poland is located in Central Europe, on the shores of the Baltic Sea.

Table of contents

1 Area and extreme points

1.1 Extreme points 1.2 The center of Poland

2 Borders of Poland 3 Past and geological structure of Poland 4 Landforms 5 Soil cover 6 Rivers and lakes

7 Climate

7.1 Historical extremes

8 World of plants and animals

9 Physical-geographic regions

9.1 Lower-order physical-geographic units 9.2 Sandy areas

10 Socio-economic geography 11 See also 12 Footnotes 13 Bibliography 14 External links

Area and extreme points[edit | edit code].

Poland’s extreme points

Separate article: Surface area of Poland.

Poland’s area is 322,575 km², including: land area (including inland waters) – 311,888 km², internal marine waters – 2005 km², territorial sea – 8682 km²[1]. In Europe, the larger area is: Russia, Ukraine, France, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Finland and Norway.

Outlying points[edit | edit code].

No military bases, diplomatic missions or scientific stations:

Northernmost tip of Poland

54°50’08.8” N – the town of Jastrzębia Góra, in the municipality of Władysławowo, Puck County, the so-called “North Star”. Star of the North – a land point; (the extreme northern point of Polish territory, which includes the territorial sea, is a point 272 meters north of Cape Rozewie – 55°00’00” N); The southernmost tip of Poland 49°00′N – Opolonek peak in the municipality of Lutowiska, Bieszczady county (actually – an unnamed saddle lying a few hundred meters east of the peak, located approx. 1.5″ farther south of the peak itself); Poland’s westernmost tip 14°07′E – a bend of the Oder River near Osinowo Dolne in the municipality of Cedynia, Gryfino county (Siekierki is a frequently given incorrect location of this point); Poland’s easternmost tip 24°09′E – a bend of the Bug River in the village of Zosin in the municipality of Horodło, Hrubieszowski county (Strzyżów is a frequently given incorrect location of this point).

The center of Poland[edit | edit code].

The geometric center of Poland is located in the town of Piątek, 15 km east of Łęczyca, 19 km south of Kutno, and 33 km north of Łódź.

Borders of Poland[edit | edit code].

Lengths of Poland’s borders with other countries

Separate article: Poland’s borders.

Poland borders seven countries[2] (in parentheses the length of the border with that country)

Germany (467 km)

Czech Republic (796 km)

Slovakia (541 km)

Ukraine (535 km)

Belarus (418 km)

Lithuania (104 km)

Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast which is an exclave of Russia, 210 km)

The length of the land border is 3071 km.

The length of the sea border is 440 km, with the length of the Baltic sea coast (including the Szczecin Lagoon and the Vistula Lagoon) being 775 km.

The total length of the borders is 3511 km.

See also: adjustments of Poland’s borders since 1945.

Past and geological structure of Poland[edit | edit code].

See also category: Regional geology of Poland.

At the beginning of the Precambrian (in the Archaic eon), the formation of the Earth’s crust began. In the Proterozoic eon, the formation of the lithosphere was accompanied by mountainous movements and volcanic phenomena. A number of so-called continental platforms were formed, which are the oldest parts of the continent. One of them is the East European platform, on which the eastern part of the present area of Poland is located.

At the beginning of the Paleozoic (in the Cambrian), part of the present area was occupied by the sea. It formed thick deposits of limestone (in the area of the present Sudetes) and sandstone and shale (in the area of the present Swietokrzyskie Mountains). In the Ordovician and Silurian the Caledonian orogeny took place, it led to the partial folding of the Sudetes and the Holy Cross Mountains. In the Devonian, the climate warmed. At the end of this period, the Hercynian orogeny began – the renewed folding of the Swietokrzyskie Mountains and Sudetes, which also took place in the Carboniferous. During it, coal deposits and volcanic mountains were formed. In the Permian, the central and northern parts of Poland were inundated by the sea. Marls and limestone were deposited, and deposits of rock and potassium salt were formed. At that time, oil and copper deposits were formed.

In the Mesozoic era, sedimentary rocks were formed: limestone, dolomite, sandstone. The era saw the beginning of further mountain movements – the Alpine Orogeny, which continues to this day.

The Alpine Orogeny led in the Cenozoic Era, precisely in the Paleogene, to the uplift of the central part of the Polish area – the land was formed there. In the Neogene, on the other hand, almost the entire area of Poland was raised above sea level. The highest elevation was the Carpathian Mountains area. At the end of the Neogene, the sea on the territory of Poland completely withdrew. In the first period of the Quaternary (Pleistocene) came the Ice Age, the ice covered almost all of Poland.

Landform[edit | edit code].

Map of Poland’s landforms

Elevation profile of Poland

Separate article: Mountains in Poland.

Since Poland is definitely dominated by lowland areas (less than 200 m above sea level), occupying as much as 75% of the country’s area, the average altitude is only 173 m above sea level, the median is 149 m above sea level. Lowlands are found in the north and center, while mountainous and highland areas in the south. Poland is one of the few countries in Europe that have lake districts and, next to Germany, has the largest river valleys.

Poland’s terrain slopes from the south to the northwest. However, the altitude does not decrease gradually, but by leaps and bounds, i.e. there are alternately lower and higher elevated lands, which are arranged in belts stretching from west to east. Starting from the south, the following belts are distinguished: mountains, basins, highlands, central lowlands, lake districts and coasts.

The lowest and highest points are located at opposite ends of the country. The lowest is located at an altitude of 2.07 meters above sea level, in the village of Marzęcino in Żuławy Wiślane. The highest point is Rysy in the Tatra Mountains, whose summit reaches 2499 meters above sea level (in 1938-1939 the highest point was Ice Peak[3]) Compared to world records, these magnitudes are not impressive: the lowest point on land (the surface of the Dead Sea) is 415.9 meters lower, while the highest peak (Mount Everest) rises 6349 meters higher.

Soil cover[edit | edit code].

The soil cover in Poland, like some other environmental elements, has transitional characteristics between soils characteristic of Western and Eastern Europe. The area is dominated by zonal soils (formed under the influence of climate), but they form a mosaic within the country, depending mainly on the geological substrate (bedrock) and relief. About 52% of the area is occupied by flat soils and brown earth soils, while about 26% of the area is occupied, formed on sandy formations, by rusty soils, podzols and podzols. River valleys are dominated by muds (about 5% of the area), while organic soils (peat soils, muck soils), gley soils and black earths can be found in wet or humid areas. Distinct areas are also occupied by, formed on carbonate rocks – rędziny, the most fertile in the territory of Poland – chernozem, characteristic of mountainous areas – initial and poorly formed soils, as well as formed under the dominant human influence – anthropogenic soils[4].

In Poland, agricultural and forest land is also classified in terms of use. According to the bonitative classification of arable and grassland soils, the country is dominated by medium soils in terms of area (class IIIa-IVb – 63% of arable land and class III and IV – 51.2% of grassland), while the least is the best soils (class I and II – 3.7% of arable land and 1.7% of grassland)[5].

Rivers and lakes[edit | edit code].

Poland’s hydrographic network

99.7% (312,683 km²) of Poland’s area lies in the catchment area of the Baltic Sea (53.9% of the Vistula basin, 34.7% of the Oder basin, 11% of the rivers of the immediate Baltic basin and 0.8% of the Nemunas basin), in addition to the catchment areas of the Black Sea (Orava, Strwiąż) and the North Sea (Dzika Orlica, Izera).

The longest rivers in Poland are

Vistula (1047 km)

Odra (854.3 km, including 741.9 km in Poland)

Warta (808 km)

Bug (772 km, including 587 km on Polish territory)

Separate article: rivers of Poland.

There are a significant number of lakes in Poland – according to current data, 7081 with an area of more than 1 hectare[6]. However, they account for only 0.9% of the country’s area[7].

Separate article: Lakes of Poland.

Separate article: The largest lakes of Poland.

Separate article: The deepest lakes of Poland.

Separate article: Artificial water reservoirs in Poland.

Climate[edit | edit code].

Average annual temperature

Normal precipitation

According to Köppen’s classification, the area of Poland lies in the humid continental climate zone (Dfb)[8]. Its climate is also described as transitional between a warm and rainy temperate climate and a snowy and forested boreal climate[9]. A variety of air masses clash over the area of Poland as a result of its location in the center of Europe and the latitudinal arrangement of geographical lands.

The predominant area of Poland is located in frost zone 6: from 5a in the northeast, through 6a in the east and 6b in the center, to 7a in the very west and by the sea, and 7b in the northwestern corner of the country.

The greatest influence on Poland’s climate is exerted by polar-maritime and polar-continental air masses, determining the transitivity of Poland’s climate.

Air masses, arctic, tropical-marine and continental, which have less influence on climate formation, also flow over Poland. Polar-maritime air masses cause cloudiness, cooling and increased humidity in summer, while in winter they bring warming, thaw and fog.

Polar-continental air masses bring beautiful, dry and hot weather in summer, and sunny, dry weather and big frosts in winter. The tropical-marine air masses from the Mediterranean Sea and the Azores come over Poland less frequently, bringing hot weather and frequent storms in summer, and violent thaws in winter.

Tropical-continental air masses flow in from Asia Minor and the Balkans very rarely, mostly in summer and early autumn. They bring beautiful, dry weather (“golden Polish autumn”).

Arctic air masses flow over Poland:

in winter from over the Barents Sea and New Earth, bringing cold and sunny weather, sometimes with heavy snowfall in spring from over Greenland, bringing a brief April-May (often with frosts) cooling, the so-called “cold gardeners

Average precipitation of about 500-600 mm per year[10]. The distribution of precipitation throughout the year is uneven, with 2/3 of annual precipitation being summer semiannual[footnote needed]. The smallest amounts of precipitation are recorded in eastern Greater Poland, Kuyavia and northwestern Mazovia, where it amounts to 450-500 mm per year, due to the precipitation shadow of the Pomeranian Lake District, where 600-700 mm falls. Areas of the Mazurian Lake District receive similar amounts of precipitation. Precipitation in the Central Poland uplands is about 800 mm. The highest precipitation values are in high mountain areas and reach 1,200 to 1,500 mm per year (up to 1,900 mm at the extremes),[10] except that in the mountains it is mainly snowfall. Poland lies in a variable wind zone with a predominance of westerly winds (northwest and southwest), the share of which is about 60%. Eastern winds blow mainly in winter, while winds blowing from the south and north are less frequent.

Climatograms of selected cities in Poland:

Historical extremes[edit | edit code].

Main article: Climate records in Poland.

Historically recorded extreme weather rates[11]:

Highest temperature:

40.2 °C – Prószków, July 29, 1921. (then German territory) 39.5 °C – Słubice, July 30, 1994.

Lowest temperature: -41.0 °C – Siedlce, January 11, 1940 Highest annual precipitation: 2770 mm – Dolina Pięciu Stawów, 2001 Lowest annual precipitation: 275 mm – Poznań, 1982 Highest atmospheric pressure: 1054.3 hPa – Suwałki, December 16, 1997 Lowest atmospheric pressure: 965.2 hPa – Szczecin, February 26, 1989. Highest number of days with fog: 338 days – Sněžka, 1974.

World of plants and animals[edit | edit code].

This section is incomplete. If you can, expand it.

Physical-geographic regions[edit | edit code].

Map of the physical-geographic regions of Poland (from megaregions to mesoregions), emphasizing the hierarchy and relative distribution of regions

Separate article: Physical-geographic regionalization of Poland.

South Baltic coasts Pomeranian lake districts Northeastern Poland Greater Poland lake districts Southwestern lowlands Central and eastern lowlands

Sudetenland and Sudeten Foreland

Lublin Upland Silesian-Cracow Upland Lesser Poland Upland Southeastern Highlands Northern Subcarpathians

Western and Eastern Carpathians

This division is a fragment of the international classification of physical-geographic regions of Europe.

Lower-order physical-geographic units[edit | edit code].

Mazovian lowland Greater Poland lowland Podlasie lowland

Pomeranian Lake District

Western Pomeranian Lake District Eastern Pomeranian Lake District South Pomeranian Lake District

Greater Poland Lake District Mazurian Lake District Łęczna-Włodawa Lake District

Pobrzeże Południowobałtyckie (South Baltic Coast)

Pobrzeże Zachodniopomorskie Pobrzeże Wschodniopomorskie (Western Pomerania coast)

Malopolska Upland

Wyżyna Śląska Wyżyna Krakowsko-Częstochowska

Kielce-Sandomierzska Upland Świętokrzyskie Mountains

Lublin Upland and Roztocze

Nida Basin

Western Carpathians

Outer Carpathians

Carpathian Foothills Western Beskids Eastern Beskids

Inner Carpathians

Eastern Carpathians

Sudetes

Western Sudetes Central Sudetes Eastern Sudetes

Sudeten foothills

Sandy areas[edit | edit code].

Dunes in the Slowinski National Park

There are three sandy areas in Poland, commonly known as deserts

Bledowska Desert

Moving dunes in the Slowinski National Park

“Siedlce Desert”

Socio-economic geography[edit | edit code].

See more in the article Poland, in the Demography section.

Separate article: Population of Poland.

See more in the article Poland, under Economy.

Separate article: Poland’s economy.

Separate article: Administrative division of Poland.

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