In environmental terms, Iceland is unique. Iceland is a large country (103,000 kmÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â², about the same surface area as Ireland or the State of Virginia), but is sparsely populated, with only 3 persons per kmÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â² living mostly along the coast. The interior of the country contains stunning contrasts. It is largely an arctic desert, punctuated with mountains, glaciers, volcanoes and waterfalls. Most of the vegetation and agricultural areas are in the lowlands close to the coastline.
Iceland has very mild, coastal weather. The average summer temperature in Reykjavik, the capital, is 11.8Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â°C/53Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â°F in July, with average highs of 24.3Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â°C/76Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â°F. Iceland has a pure, pollution-free environment. Industry is operated almost exclusively with clean hydroelectric and geothermal power. For more on nature in Iceland, click on the items on the right.
All text in the Nature section is adapted from “Iceland – The Republic”, Handbook published by the Central Bank of Iceland, ed. by Mr. JÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â³hannes Nordal and Mr. Valdimar Kristinsson, Reykjavik 1996. The Ministry is responsible for the adapted texts.