Geography of Svalbard

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Svalbard is an archipeligo in the arctic ocean roughly centered around 78° north latitude and 20° east longitude. The archipeligo is the northernmost part of the Kingdom of Norway. The three main islands in the group consist of Spitsbergen (the largest island), Nordaustlandet and Edgeøya. There are also a number of smaller islands, such as Barents Island (Barentsøya) (1,288 km2 (497 sq mi)), Kvitøya (682 km2 (263 sq mi)), Prins Karls Forland (English: Prince Charles Foreland) (615 km2 (237 sq mi)), Kongsøya (191 km2 (74 sq mi)), Bear Island (178 km2 (69 sq mi)), Svenskøya (137 km2 (53 sq mi)), Wilhelmøya (120 km2 (46 sq mi)) and other smaller islands or skerries (621 km2 (240 sq mi)).

Contents

Climate

There is no arable land in the island group due to heavy glaciation and the northern latitude. There are no trees native to the archipeligo, but there are shrubs such as crowberry and cloudberry. The west coast of Spitsbergen remains navigable most of the year, due to favorable winds which keep the area ice-free. Norway claims a 200 nmi (370.4 km; 230.2 mi) Fishery protection zone, but this is not recognized by neighboring Russia.

The climate of the Svalbard archipeligo is arctic, tempered by warm North Atlantic Current along the west and northern coasts. This means cool summers and cold winters along the wild, rugged mountainous islands. The high land of the island interiors is generally ice covered year round, with the west coast clear of ice about one half of the year. There are many fjords along west and north coasts

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