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Climate and Weather



Climate and Weather

The Gulf Stream runs along the west coast, causing summer temperatures to average between 5 and 18 °C, both in the north and in the south. In the sun, the temperature rises to over 20°C. On the land ice, the average temperature does not get warmer than -11°C. The temperature differences are much greater in winter. In the north, the temperature can drop to -50°C and in the south to -20°C. In 1954, the lowest temperature ever recorded was -70°C.

Greenland's humidity is usually very low. This makes the low temperatures feel very different from other cold places in the world, such as Iceland and the Faeroe Islands. In the south, it can be foggy and rainy for days.

Two special natural phenomena can be observed in the north of Greenland: the midnight sun and the northern lights.

The further one goes towards the North Pole, the higher the sun is in the sky and the longer the sun shines in succession. The Arctic Circle, which runs through northern Greenland, is the latitude at which the sun remains just above the horizon on the night of 21-22 June. The midnight sun can also be seen in more southern parts of Greenland. In the middle of summer, it is possible to read the newspaper in the street at night without too much trouble. Conversely, in winter, the sun remains below the horizon at the Arctic Circle and at the North Pole it is the polar night. In the far north, the sun is only visible for a maximum of three hours a day in winter. When it is cloudy, the natural phenomenon is much less visible.

The northern lights or polar lights can be seen on clear, cold winter nights. Sunspots shoot electrical particles in the direction of the Earth, which are propelled by the Earth's magnetic field to the higher layers of the atmosphere, where they begin to glow. This gives rise to brilliant colour variations in arcs and rays. The most beautiful part is the aurora borealis when all those arcs and rays seem to hang like a crown above the pole. The northern lights can be seen all year round above Greenland.


Stadler, H. / Groenland

Swaney, D. / Iceland, Greenland & Faroe Islands
Lonely Planet

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated April 2024
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