Climate of Austria
Austria is located in a temperate climate zone with a Central European climate influenced by the Atlantic climate. The four seasons (Spring, Summer,Autumn and Winter) each have typical temperature and climatic characters.
Due to the topographical diversity and the relatively large West-East expanse, there are three differentiating climatic regions:
East: Pannonian climate with a continental influence -low precipitation, hot summers but only moderately cold winters.
Alpine Regions: Alpine climate - high precipitation ( except inner alpine valley regions such as the upper Inntal), short summers, long winters.
Remainder of the country: transient climate influenced by the Atlantic (in the West) and a continental influence in the South-east.
Trade & Industry
Austria has a strong economy with machinery, metallurgical products and textiles being of particular importance. The country's most important industry, however, is tourism.
Austria, with its well-developed market economy and high standard of living, is closely tied to other EU economies. The services sector forms some two thirds of the Gross Domestic Product of 232 billion Euros. Trade and industry make up about a third of the GDP, agriculture contributes some 2 %. With an average per capita GDP of about Euro 27,000, Austria ranks among the EC's richest countries.
Energy --Grist to Industry's Mills
About one third of the Austria's energy consumption is covered by the national energy industry. Up to 70% of the energy comes from renewable sources such as water. Industry, which still is considered to be the national growth engine, is made up of mainly small and medium-sized enterprises. Austria's industrial sector is, however, one of the world's largest: between 1995 and 2003 industrial production increased nominally by 28% to a total volume of 90.9 billion Euros. With 11.4 billion Euros in 2003, mechanical and steel industry were the greatest contributors to Austria's total output, followed by chemical industry (10.6 billion Euros), and the electrical and electronics industry (10.2 billion).
A First-Class Services Sector
The services industry is Austria's fastest growing industrial sector. About one sixth of Austria's three million wage and salary workforce is employed in the trade and industry sector, which contributes some 13% to the GDP. Tourism is the country's biggest foreign exchange earner and the fastest growing sector: 220,000 people in 40,000 tourist establishments generate 10% of Austria's economic output. In 2004 Austria logged some 117 million bednights.
Europe's Deli Shop
7.5 million hectares of land are used for agriculture with cattle farming contributing 30% to the agricultural value-added business. Austria boasts an incredible 18,500 eco-farms adding to the country's reputation as Europe's deli shop. 47 % of Austria is forested. Besides water, wood plays a more and more important role as renewable source of energy.
Exports: Wine & More
Among the insiders of the wine business, and despite being only a small winegrowing country, Austria has gained an excellent reputation for producing some top-scoring wines. About 32,000 wineries produce an average of 2.5 million hectoliters of wine per year. Austrian wines are produced mostly from Riesling and Gruner Veltliner grapes but Sauvignon Blanc grapes are also used. It's the whites get most of the attention, but the reds are also excellent.
Export is regarded as vital to Austrian economy. Main export commodities are machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, paper and paperboard, metal goods, chemicals, iron and steel; textiles, foodstuff. Austria's top-ten export commodities make up two-third of the entire export volume. Most exports go to other EC countries (mainly Germany), about 15% go overseas.
Fauna and Flora
Austria's topographic diversity accounts for a great variety of flora and fauna, including endemic species that are under preservation.
In Austria there is a predominantly Central European fauna: deer, stag, rabbit, pheasant, fox, badger, marten, partridge.
Native to the alpine regions are the chamois, groundhog, eagle and mountain jackdaw. Characteristic of the Pannonian fauna is the vast bird population in the reed beds of Lake Neusiedl (heron, spoonbill, scooper, wild goose, and many more).
In recent years, Austria is home again to a small bear population, which can mainly be found in the heavily wooded southern and central mountainous regions.
The diversity of topographical and climatic conditions accounts for the country's species-rich flora.
Austria is one of Europe's most heavily wooded countries.
Characteristic are the deciduous forest (oak, beech) and the mixed forest (beech, fir) and in the higher altitude regions fir, larch and pine.
Especially diverse and colorful is the alpine flora: edelweiss, gentian, alpine carnation, arnica, alpine rose, heather and much more.
The northern edge of the Alps is especially dominated by grassland; typical in the Pannonian region are the scrub forest, mixed deciduous forest and the steppe moors. East of Lake Neusiedl one finds a specific salt steppe flora.
Austria's nature parks, that stretch across 3 percent of the country, document the diversity of the landscape with its in part unique natural landscapes, such as the rain and virgin forests.