Norway, officially Kingdom of Norway (Norwegian Kongeriket Norge),
constitutional monarchy in northern Europe, occupying the western
and northern portions of the Scandinavian Peninsula.
It is bounded on the north by the Barents Sea, an arm of the Arctic
Ocean, on the northeast by Finland and Russia, on the east by Sweden,
on the south by Skagerrak Strait and the North Sea, and on the west
by the Norwegian Sea.
The Norwegian coastline extends about 2740 km (about 1700 mi);
including all the fjords and offshore islands, the coastline totals
about 21,930 km (about 13,620 mi). The islands, known locally as
the skerry guard, form a protected waterway along the coast.
The country's name, meaning "northern way," reflects its importance
in linking the many small fjord and valley communities that are
otherwise separated by rugged mountains. Norway has a land area
of 385,639 sq km (148,896 sq mi). Oslo is Norway's capital and largest
The warm waters of the North Atlantic Drift (an extension of the
Gulf Stream) flow along the Atlantic coast of Norway and have a
pronounced moderating effect on the climate. A maritime climate
prevails over most of the coastal islands and lowlands. Winters
are mild and summers are normally cool.
At Bergen the average temperature range in January is -1° to 3°
C (31° to 38° F), and the average range in July is 12° to 19° C
(54° to 66° F). Influenced by Atlantic weather disturbances, precipitation
is frequent and heavy, although amounts decrease toward the north.
The average annual precipitation in Bergen is about 1930 mm (about
76 in). In the interior, a more continental climate prevails; winters
are colder, and summers are warmer. At Oslo the average temperature
range in January is -7° to -2° C (19° to 28° F); the average range
in July is 13° to 22° C (55° to 72° F).
Precipitation is generally less here than on the coast, averaging
about 730 mm (about 29 in) annually. In the highlands of North Norway
the climate is subarctic. The coastal areas of this region, however,
have a moderate maritime climate and most ports, even in the far
north, are ice-free in winter.