The Kingdom of Sweden is located on the Scandinavian Peninsula in northern Europe. It is bounded on the north and west by Norway, on the north-east by Finland, on the east by the Gulf of Bothnia and the Baltic Sea, and on the south-west by the Skagerrak, Kattegat and Öresund straits. Its area is 452 180 km2. Sweden includes numerous islands, the largest of which are Gotland and Öland in the Baltic Sea.
The Kolen Mountains lie in the north-west and form part of the boundary with Norway. The highest point in the range, and the highest point in Sweden, is atop Mount Kebnekaise (2 111 m). The land is completely treeless above about 500 m in the northernmost part of the mountains. Some birch trees grow on the warmer, lower slopes. Hundreds of small glaciers cover the higher slopes of the range. To the east of the mountains is a long plateau, which slopes east to a coastal plain bordering the Gulf of Bothnia. Many rivers, including the Ångermanälven, Dalälven, Trysilelva, Ume älv and Torne älv, flow south-east to the Gulf of Bothnia.
In south-central Sweden is a hilly lowland with many lakes, including the largest lakes in the country, Lake Vänern and Lake Vättern. Lake Vänern covers 5 584 km2 and is one of the largest lakes in Europe. An upland region, known as the Småland highlands, is located south of the lowland. The plains of Skåne occupy the south-eastern tip of the Scandinavian Peninsula.
The climate is moderated by oceanic influences and is comparatively mild, considering the northern latitude. The climate of northern Sweden is considerably more severe than that of the south both because it is farther to the north and because the mountains cut off the moderating marine influence. In the extreme south of Sweden, temperatures in January and February, the coldest months, average 0° C. In Kiruna, in the far north of the country, temperatures average about -12° C during these months. In July, Sweden's warmest month, temperatures average from 15 to 17° C in the south, and 12 to 14° C in the north. In winter, eastern air masses may lower the temperature to -23° C in Stockholm, and to -43° C in the north.
Precipitation is relatively low throughout Sweden except for on the higher mountain slopes. In Stockholm the average annual precipitation is 550 mm; in Göteborg it is 670 mm. Rainfall is heaviest in the south-west and in the Kolen Mountains along the Norwegian border. Most rain falls in the late summer. Heavy snows are common in central and northern Sweden.
The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.