Geography of Ukraine

The geography of Ukraine varies greatly from one region of the country to another, with the majority of the country lying within the East European Plain. Ukraine is the second-largest European country, after Russia. Its various regions have diverse geographic features ranging from highlands to lowlands, as well as climatic range and a wide variety in hydrography.

Geography of Ukraine
Desna river Vinn meadow 2016 G2.jpg
The River Desna valley, north of Vinnytsia
Ukraine relief location map.jpg
ContinentEurope
RegionEastern Europe
Coordinates50°27′N 30°30′E / 50.450°N 30.500°E / 50.450; 30.500
AreaRanked 45th
 • Total603,500 km2 (233,000 sq mi)
 • Land96%
 • Water4%
Coastline2,782 km (1,729 mi)
Borders4,558 km2 (1,760 sq mi)
Highest pointHoverla
2,061 metres (6,762 ft)
Lowest pointKuyalnik Estuary
−5 metres (−16 ft)
Longest riverDnieper
981 kilometres (610 mi)
Largest lakeLake Yalpuh
149 km2 (57.53 sq mi)
Exclusive economic zone147,318 km2 (56,880 sq mi)
The Carpathian National Park and Hoverla at 2,061 m (6,762 ft), the highest mountain in Ukraine
Map of Ukraine with Cities.png

Lying between latitudes 44° and 53° N, and longitudes 22° and 41° E, Ukraine covers an area of 603,628 square kilometres (233,062 sq mi), with a coastline of 2,782 kilometres (1,729 mi).[1]

The landscape of Ukraine consists mostly of fertile steppes[2] and plateaus, crossed by rivers such as the Dnieper, Seversky Donets, Dniester and the Southern Bug as they flow south into the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov. To the southwest, the delta of the Danube forms the border with Romania. The country's only mountains are the Carpathian Mountains in the west, of which the highest is Hoverla at 2,061 metres (6,762 ft), and the Crimean Mountains, in the extreme south along the coast.[3]

Ukraine also has a number of highland regions such as the Volyn-Podillia Upland (in the west) and the Near-Dnipro Upland (on the right bank of the Dnieper). To the east there are the south-western spurs of the Central Russian Upland, over which runs the border with the Russia. Near the Sea of Azov can be found the Donets Ridge and the Near Azov Upland. The snow melt from the mountains feeds the rivers and their waterfalls.

Significant natural resources in Ukraine include lithium,[4] natural gas,[5] kaolin,[5] timber[6] and an abundance of arable land. Despite this, the country faces a number of major environmental issues such as inadequate supplies of potable water, air and water pollution, deforestation, and radioactive contamination in the north-east from the 1986 accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

Geographic locationEdit

 
 
Kyiv
 
Chernihiv
 
Chernivtsi
 
Dnipro
 
Donetsk
 
Kharkiv
 
Lviv
 
Odesa
 
Sevastopol
 
Uzhhorod
 
Mt. Hoverla
 
Simferopol
 
Ivano‑Frankivsk
 
Sumy
 
Sviatohirsk
 
Chernobyl
 
Vinnytsia
 
Lutsk
 
Zaporizhzhia
 
Kryvyi Rih
Map of Ukraine

Ukraine is located in Eastern Europe: lying on the northern shores of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The country borders Poland, Slovakia and Hungary in the west, Belarus in the north, Moldova and Romania in the south-west and Russia in the east.[7]

The total geographic area of Ukraine is 603,550 square kilometers (233,030 sq mi). Ukraine has an Exclusive Economic Zone of 147,318 km2 (56,880 sq mi) in the Black Sea.[7]

The land border of Ukraine totals 6,993 kilometers (4,345 mi).[8] The border lengths with each country are: Belarus 891 kilometers (554 mi), Hungary 103 kilometers (64 mi), Moldova 939 kilometers (583 mi), Poland 428 kilometers (266 mi), Romania 169 kilometers (105 mi) on the south and 362 kilometers (225 mi) on the west, Russia 1,974 kilometers (1,227 mi), and Slovakia 90 kilometers (56 mi). Ukraine is also bordered by 3,783 kilometers (2,351 mi) of coastline. The border with Russia is the country's longest border - it runs in part through the Sea of Azov.[citation needed]

The village of Vel'ké Slemence is an anomaly, as it is split between Slovakia and Ukraine.[9]

ReliefEdit

 
Relief map of Ukraine
 
Simplified depiction of the biomes lying north of the Black Sea. The bright green belt girdling the Black Sea's southern coast, extending westwards, denotes a region of subtropics.

Most of its territory lies within the Great European Plain, while parts of western regions and southern regions lay within the Alpine system. In general Ukraine comprises two different biomes: mixed forest towards the middle of the continent, and steppe towards the Black Sea littoral. Major provinces include, Polesian Lowland, Dnieper Lowland, Volhynia-Podolie Plateau, Black Sea-Azov Lowland, Donets-Azov Plateau, Central Russian Upland, Carpathians, and Pannonian Basin.

The western regions feature an alpine-like section of Carpathian Mountains, the Eastern Carpathians that stretches across Poland, Ukraine and Romania. The highest peak is Hoverla, which is 2,061 metres (6,762 ft) tall. Mountains are limited to the west, the southern tip of Ukraine on the Sea of Azov. The western region has the Carpathian Mountains, and some eroded mountains from the Donets Ridge are in the east near the Sea of Azov. The highest elevation in Ukraine is located at the peak of Mount Hoverla which is 2,061 meters (6,762 ft) above sea level.

Most of Ukraine's area is taken up by the steppe-like region just north of the Black Sea. Most of Ukraine consists of fertile plains (or steppes) and plateaus. In terms of land use, 58% of Ukraine is considered arable land; 2% is used for permanent crops, 13% for permanent pastures, 18% is forests and woodland, and 9% is other.

Physiographic division of UkraineEdit

Most of Ukraine consists of regular plains with the average height above sea level being 175 metres (574 ft). It is surrounded by mountains to its west and extreme south. Wide spaces of the country's plains are located in the south-western part of the East European Plain. The plains have numerous highlands and lowlands caused by the uneven crystallized base of the East European craton. The highlands are characterized by Precambrian basement rocks from the Ukrainian Shield.

Plains are considered elevations of no more than 0–600 m (0–1,969 ft) among which there are recognized lowlands (plains) and uplands (plateaus, ridges, hill ridges).

Great European Plain (subregion East European Plain)Edit

Alpine systemEdit

SoilEdit

From northwest to southeast the soils of Ukraine may be divided into three major aggregations:[10]

 
Agricultural works in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast

As much as two-thirds of the country's surface land consists of black earth, a resource that has made Ukraine one of the most fertile regions in the world and well known as a "breadbasket".[11] These soils may be divided into three broad groups:

  • in the north, a belt of deep chernozems, about 1.5 metres (5 feet) thick and rich in humus
  • south and east of the former, a zone of prairie, or ordinary, chernozems, which are equally rich in humus but only about 90 centimetres (3 feet) thick
  • the southernmost belt, which is even thinner and has still less humus

Interspersed in various uplands and along the northern and western perimeters of the deep chernozems are mixtures of gray forest soils and podzolized black-earth soils, which together occupy much of Ukraine's remaining area. All these soils are very fertile when sufficient water is available. However, their intensive cultivation, especially on steep slopes, has led to widespread soil erosion and gullying.

The smallest proportion of the soil cover consists of the chestnut soils of the southern and eastern regions. They become increasingly salinized to the south as they approach the Black Sea.[10]

HydrographyEdit

 
Kalmius river, Donetsk

The territory of Ukraine is bordered by the waters of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. More than 95% of the rivers are part of those two seas' drainage basins. A few rivers are part of the Baltic Sea basin. There are seven major rivers in Ukraine: Desna, Dnipro, Dnister, Danube, Prypiat, Siverian Donets, and Southern Buh.[12]

ClimateEdit

 
Ukraine map of Köppen climate classification.
Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for the seven largest cities in Ukraine[13]
Location July (°C) July (°F) January (°C) January (°F)
Kyiv 25/16 78/61 -2/-9 30/21
Kharkiv 26/16 79/61 -2/-7 28/19
Dnipro 28/18 83/65 0/−5 32/21
Odesa 27/18 80/65 2/−2 36/27
Donetsk 27/16 81/61 –1/–6 29/20
Zaporizhzhia 28/16 83/61 –0/−5 31/21
Lviv 24/13 75/56 -1/-8 32/21
 
Visualisation of climate change in Kyiv, showing different temperature ranges between different 30-year time periods.

Ukraine has a mostly temperate climate, with the exception of the southern coast of Crimea which has a subtropical climate.[14] The climate is influenced by moderately warm, humid air coming from the Atlantic Ocean.[15] Average annual temperatures range from 5.5–7 °C (41.9–44.6 °F) in the north, to 11–13 °C (51.8–55.4 °F) in the south.[15] Precipitation is disproportionately distributed; it is highest in the west and north and lowest in the east and southeast.[15] Western Ukraine, particularly in the Carpathian Mountains receive around 1,200 millimetres (47.2 in) of precipitation annually, while Crimea and the coastal areas of the Black Sea receive around 400 millimetres (15.7 in).[15]

Water availability from the major river basins is expected to decrease, especially in summer. This poses risks to the agricultural sector.[16] The negative impacts of climate change on agriculture are mostly felt in the south of the country, which has a steppe climate. In the north, some crops may be able to benefit from a longer growing season.[17] The World Bank has stated that Ukraine is highly vulnerable to climate change.[18]

Climate data for Kyiv (1991–2020, extremes 1881–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 11.1
(52.0)
17.3
(63.1)
22.4
(72.3)
30.2
(86.4)
33.6
(92.5)
35.0
(95.0)
39.4
(102.9)
39.3
(102.7)
33.8
(92.8)
28.0
(82.4)
23.2
(73.8)
14.7
(58.5)
39.4
(102.9)
Average high °C (°F) −0.8
(30.6)
0.7
(33.3)
6.5
(43.7)
15.0
(59.0)
21.1
(70.0)
24.6
(76.3)
26.5
(79.7)
25.9
(78.6)
20.0
(68.0)
12.9
(55.2)
5.3
(41.5)
0.5
(32.9)
13.2
(55.8)
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.2
(26.2)
−2.3
(27.9)
2.5
(36.5)
10.0
(50.0)
15.8
(60.4)
19.5
(67.1)
21.3
(70.3)
20.5
(68.9)
14.9
(58.8)
8.6
(47.5)
2.6
(36.7)
−1.8
(28.8)
9.0
(48.2)
Average low °C (°F) −5.5
(22.1)
−5.0
(23.0)
−0.8
(30.6)
5.7
(42.3)
10.9
(51.6)
14.8
(58.6)
16.7
(62.1)
15.7
(60.3)
10.6
(51.1)
5.1
(41.2)
0.4
(32.7)
−3.9
(25.0)
5.4
(41.7)
Record low °C (°F) −32.9
(−27.2)
−32.2
(−26.0)
−24.9
(−12.8)
−10.4
(13.3)
−2.4
(27.7)
2.4
(36.3)
5.8
(42.4)
3.3
(37.9)
−2.9
(26.8)
−17.8
(0.0)
−21.9
(−7.4)
−30.0
(−22.0)
−32.9
(−27.2)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 38
(1.5)
40
(1.6)
40
(1.6)
42
(1.7)
65
(2.6)
73
(2.9)
68
(2.7)
56
(2.2)
57
(2.2)
46
(1.8)
46
(1.8)
47
(1.9)
618
(24.3)
Average extreme snow depth cm (inches) 9
(3.5)
11
(4.3)
7
(2.8)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
2
(0.8)
5
(2.0)
11
(4.3)
Average rainy days 8 7 9 13 14 15 14 11 14 12 12 9 138
Average snowy days 17 17 10 2 0.2 0 0 0 0.03 2 9 16 73
Average relative humidity (%) 82.7 80.1 74.0 64.3 62.0 67.5 68.3 66.9 73.5 77.4 84.6 85.6 73.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 42 64 112 162 257 273 287 252 189 123 51 31 1,843
Average ultraviolet index 1 1 2 4 6 7 6 6 4 2 1 1 3
Source 1: Pogoda.ru.net,[19] Central Observatory for Geophysics (extremes),[20][21] World Meteorological Organization (humidity 1981–2010)[22]
Source 2: Danish Meteorological Institute (sun, 1931–1960)[23] and Weather Atlas[24]
Climate data for Kharkiv (1991−2020, extremes 1936–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 11.1
(52.0)
14.6
(58.3)
21.8
(71.2)
30.5
(86.9)
34.5
(94.1)
39.8
(103.6)
38.4
(101.1)
39.8
(103.6)
34.5
(94.1)
29.3
(84.7)
20.3
(68.5)
13.4
(56.1)
39.8
(103.6)
Average high °C (°F) −2.1
(28.2)
−0.8
(30.6)
5.2
(41.4)
14.7
(58.5)
21.4
(70.5)
25.2
(77.4)
27.4
(81.3)
26.8
(80.2)
20.5
(68.9)
12.6
(54.7)
4.3
(39.7)
−0.7
(30.7)
12.9
(55.2)
Daily mean °C (°F) −4.5
(23.9)
−3.8
(25.2)
1.4
(34.5)
9.7
(49.5)
16.1
(61.0)
20.0
(68.0)
22.0
(71.6)
21.1
(70.0)
15.1
(59.2)
8.2
(46.8)
1.6
(34.9)
−2.9
(26.8)
8.7
(47.7)
Average low °C (°F) −6.8
(19.8)
−6.6
(20.1)
−1.9
(28.6)
4.8
(40.6)
10.7
(51.3)
14.7
(58.5)
16.6
(61.9)
15.4
(59.7)
10.2
(50.4)
4.4
(39.9)
−0.8
(30.6)
−5.1
(22.8)
4.6
(40.3)
Record low °C (°F) −35.6
(−32.1)
−29.8
(−21.6)
−32.2
(−26.0)
−11.4
(11.5)
−1.9
(28.6)
2.2
(36.0)
5.7
(42.3)
2.2
(36.0)
−2.9
(26.8)
−9.1
(15.6)
−20.9
(−5.6)
−30.8
(−23.4)
−35.6
(−32.1)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 37
(1.5)
33
(1.3)
36
(1.4)
32
(1.3)
54
(2.1)
58
(2.3)
63
(2.5)
39
(1.5)
44
(1.7)
44
(1.7)
39
(1.5)
40
(1.6)
519
(20.4)
Average extreme snow depth cm (inches) 8
(3.1)
11
(4.3)
8
(3.1)
1
(0.4)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1
(0.4)
4
(1.6)
11
(4.3)
Average rainy days 10 8 10 13 14 15 13 10 12 13 13 12 143
Average snowy days 19 18 12 2 0.1 0 0 0 0.03 2 9 18 80
Average relative humidity (%) 85.6 83.0 77.3 65.7 60.9 65.2 65.3 62.9 70.2 77.6 85.7 86.5 73.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 41.5 63.3 123.5 166.7 252.9 266.6 278.0 262.4 176.6 112.8 51.0 31.4 1,826.7
Source 1: Pogoda.ru.net[25]
Source 2: World Meteorological Organization (humidity and sun 1981–2010)[26]
Climate data for Dnipro (1991–2020, extremes 1948–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 12.3
(54.1)
17.5
(63.5)
24.1
(75.4)
31.8
(89.2)
36.1
(97.0)
37.8
(100.0)
39.8
(103.6)
40.9
(105.6)
36.5
(97.7)
32.6
(90.7)
20.6
(69.1)
13.7
(56.7)
40.9
(105.6)
Average high °C (°F) −0.9
(30.4)
0.6
(33.1)
7.1
(44.8)
16.0
(60.8)
22.7
(72.9)
26.6
(79.9)
29.1
(84.4)
28.7
(83.7)
22.4
(72.3)
14.4
(57.9)
5.8
(42.4)
0.6
(33.1)
14.4
(57.9)
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.6
(25.5)
−2.8
(27.0)
2.5
(36.5)
10.3
(50.5)
16.5
(61.7)
20.5
(68.9)
22.7
(72.9)
22.1
(71.8)
16.2
(61.2)
9.2
(48.6)
2.6
(36.7)
−1.9
(28.6)
9.5
(49.1)
Average low °C (°F) −6.1
(21.0)
−5.8
(21.6)
−1.2
(29.8)
5.1
(41.2)
10.9
(51.6)
15.1
(59.2)
17.1
(62.8)
16.3
(61.3)
11.0
(51.8)
5.2
(41.4)
−0.1
(31.8)
−4.2
(24.4)
5.3
(41.5)
Record low °C (°F) −30.0
(−22.0)
−27.8
(−18.0)
−19.2
(−2.6)
−8.2
(17.2)
−2.4
(27.7)
3.9
(39.0)
5.9
(42.6)
3.9
(39.0)
−3.0
(26.6)
−8.0
(17.6)
−17.9
(−0.2)
−27.8
(−18.0)
−30.0
(−22.0)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 50
(2.0)
43
(1.7)
51
(2.0)
39
(1.5)
51
(2.0)
64
(2.5)
55
(2.2)
45
(1.8)
42
(1.7)
39
(1.5)
44
(1.7)
46
(1.8)
569
(22.4)
Average extreme snow depth cm (inches) 7
(2.8)
10
(3.9)
5
(2.0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1
(0.4)
4
(1.6)
10
(3.9)
Average rainy days 9 8 11 13 13 13 12 9 10 11 12 11 132
Average snowy days 16 15 9 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 15 64
Average relative humidity (%) 87.7 84.6 79.2 66.8 62.2 66.2 64.7 62.4 69.5 77.2 86.5 88.3 74.6
Mean monthly sunshine hours 45.2 70.7 126.3 179.0 264.9 269.5 299.0 277.5 197.3 132.1 58.2 34.4 1,954.1
Source 1: Pogoda.ru.net[27]
Source 2: World Meteorological Organization (humidity and sun 1981–2010)[28]
Climate data for Odessa (1991–2020, extremes 1894–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 15.1
(59.2)
19.2
(66.6)
24.1
(75.4)
29.4
(84.9)
33.3
(91.9)
37.2
(99.0)
39.3
(102.7)
38.0
(100.4)
35.4
(95.7)
30.5
(86.9)
26.0
(78.8)
16.9
(62.4)
39.3
(102.7)
Average high °C (°F) 2.3
(36.1)
3.4
(38.1)
7.7
(45.9)
13.6
(56.5)
20.3
(68.5)
25.1
(77.2)
27.9
(82.2)
27.7
(81.9)
21.8
(71.2)
15.3
(59.5)
9.1
(48.4)
4.2
(39.6)
14.9
(58.8)
Daily mean °C (°F) −0.4
(31.3)
0.4
(32.7)
4.3
(39.7)
10.0
(50.0)
16.2
(61.2)
20.8
(69.4)
23.4
(74.1)
23.1
(73.6)
17.8
(64.0)
12.0
(53.6)
6.3
(43.3)
1.5
(34.7)
11.3
(52.3)
Average low °C (°F) −2.7
(27.1)
−2.1
(28.2)
1.6
(34.9)
6.9
(44.4)
12.6
(54.7)
16.9
(62.4)
19.1
(66.4)
18.5
(65.3)
14.0
(57.2)
8.9
(48.0)
3.9
(39.0)
−0.8
(30.6)
8.1
(46.6)
Record low °C (°F) −26.2
(−15.2)
−28.0
(−18.4)
−16.0
(3.2)
−5.9
(21.4)
0.3
(32.5)
5.2
(41.4)
7.5
(45.5)
7.9
(46.2)
−0.8
(30.6)
−13.3
(8.1)
−14.6
(5.7)
−19.6
(−3.3)
−28.0
(−18.4)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 43
(1.7)
35
(1.4)
35
(1.4)
28
(1.1)
39
(1.5)
47
(1.9)
45
(1.8)
40
(1.6)
44
(1.7)
37
(1.5)
39
(1.5)
38
(1.5)
470
(18.5)
Average extreme snow depth cm (inches) 2
(0.8)
2
(0.8)
1
(0.4)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1
(0.4)
2
(0.8)
Average rainy days 9 7 10 11 12 13 10 8 9 10 13 10 122
Average snowy days 11 10 6 0.4 0 0 0 0 0 0.2 4 9 41
Average relative humidity (%) 82.5 80.7 78.4 74.5 71.0 70.6 66.0 65.4 71.8 77.1 81.9 83.6 75.3
Mean monthly sunshine hours 63.2 91.6 142.2 199.5 292.5 307.5 332.9 313.1 234.6 164.7 73.0 57.4 2,272.2
Source 1: Pogoda.ru[29]
Source 2: World Meteorological Organization (humidity and sun 1981–2010)[30]

Natural resourcesEdit

Significant natural resources in Ukraine include: iron ore, manganese, natural gas,[31] titanium, kaolin, uranium, and arable land.[32][33]

Environmental issuesEdit

Ukraine has many environmental issues.[34][35] Some regions lack adequate supplies of potable water.[36] Air and water pollution affects the country, as well as deforestation, and radiation contamination in the northeast stemming from the 1986 accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.[37]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Ukraine". CIA World Factbook. 13 December 2007. Retrieved 24 December 2007.
  2. ^ "Ukraine country profile". BBC News. 2022-03-01. Retrieved 2022-03-03.
  3. ^ "Geographical location of Ukraine". www.ukrexport.gov.ua. Retrieved 2022-03-03.
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