Municipal Affairs and Environment

Hydrology and Climate of Newfoundland

Physiographic Characteristics

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The coastline of the island portion of the province is generally very rugged and highly indented with deep harbours, while the interior consists of an elevated, undulating plateau which generally tilts towards the northeast. The Long Range Mountains is the most noticeable mountain range on the island. It runs from the extreme southwest region of the island and up along the Great Northern Peninsula. The highest peak in this range has an elevation of 814 metres. The Humber Valley area, by contrast, consists largely of a northeast-southwest trough, in which lie Deer Lake and Grand Lake. On the east coast, much of the Avalon Peninsula is characterized by barren, irregular and rough topography, with several peaks over 250 m high. The Burin Peninsula is generally of low relief. The physiography of the Bonavista Bay and north-eastern areas is characterized by a deeply indented coastline defining several peninsular arms and the land rises rapidly from about 80 m on the peninsulas to about 200 - 300 m in the interior. Much of the southern region of the island is a plateau with elevations ranging from 200 to 300 m, behind steep coastal cliffs.

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The relief of Labrador ranges from sea level to over 1500 metres in the Torngat Mountains. The coastline is rugged and consists of irregular bays bordered by rocky islets. The interior is essentially a large plateau with elevations varying between 300 and 650 metres.

Hydrologic Characteristics

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The mean annual runoff is highest in the southwestern region of the island where it ranges from 1300 mm to 2100 mm. The lowest mean annual runoff, between 700 mm and 900 mm, occurs in the north-central area of the island. On the Avalon and Burin Peninsulas, the range of mean annual runoff is from 1100 mm to 1900 mm, while on the Northern Peninsula it is between 1100 mm and 1400 mm.

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Mean annual runoff in Labrador ranges from 600 mm to 800 mm, with the exception of the extreme south-eastern corner where it is over 1000 mm.


Climatic Characteristics

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The southwestern region of the island receives the highest amount of precipitation which ranges from 1200 mm to 1700 mm. The lowest mean annual precipitation, between 800 mm and 1100 mm, occurs in the north-central part of the island. On the Avalon and Burin Peninsulas, the mean annual precipitation is between 1200 mm and 1600 mm, while on the Northern Peninsula it ranges from 900 mm to 1200 mm.

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The mean annual precipitation in Labrador varies from a low of about 600 mm in the north to a high of about 1200 mm in the south-east.

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