Latvia

LatviaIn the summer, daylight hours are long and in the winter short. In December it is still pitch dark at 9:00 A.M., and daylight disappears before 4:00 P.M. The climate is tempered by the Gulf Stream flowing across the Atlantic Ocean from Mexico. Average temperatures in winter are reasonably mild, ranging in January from −2.8 °C (27.0 °F) in Liepāja, on the western coast, to −6.6 °C (20.1 °F) in the southeastern town of Daugavpils. July temperatures range from 16.7 °C (62.1 °F) in Liepāja to 17.6 °C (63.7 °F) in Daugavpils. Latvia’s proximity to the sea brings high levels of humidity and precipitation, with average annual precipitation of 633 millimeters (24.9 in) in Riga. There, an average of 180 days per year have precipitation, forty-four days have fog, and only seventy-two days are sunny. Continuous snow cover lasts eighty-two days, and the frost-free period lasts 177 days.

This precipitation has helped provide the abundant water for Latvia’s many rivers and lakes, but it has created many problems as well. A large part of agricultural land requires drainage. Much money has been spent for land amelioration projects involving the installation of drainage pipes, the straightening and deepening of natural streams, the digging of drainage ditches, and the construction of polder dams. During the 1960s and 1970s, drainage work absorbed about one-third of all agricultural investments in Latvia. Although accounting for only one-third of 1% of the territory, Latvia was responsible for 11% of all artificially drained land in the former Soviet Union.  (Source: Wikipedia)

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