Iceland, an Island in the Atlantic
Iceland is the second largest island in Europe and the third largest in the Atlantic, 103.000 km2 in size, half way between New York and Moscow.
The country lies at the meeting place of hot and cold currents, as well as hot and cold air that meet regularly around Iceland. This makes the country susceptible to climate changes.
When pack ice from Greenland is out to sea, or by the beaches, it will be a cold year. The ice does not come near Iceland’s shores in a normal year, but during so-called “ice-pack years” it can be carried to the north western, northern, and eastern parts of the country.
Summers are cool and winters mild. The average temperature in Reykjavík in January is approximately 0°C and 12°C in July. On the northern side of the country it is normally colder and it often snows heavily there during the winter.
Because of the northerly latitude of the country, it is light for the whole day for two to three months a year, in summer. In the spring and the autumn, the evenings are light and long. On the other hand, from the middle of November to the end of January, it is very dark – there is no daylight but for three to four hours in the daytime.
Icelanders talk a lot about the weather, as it can be rather variable; it can even snow during high summer. The Icelandic language is rich with words concerning weather conditions, not least of all about snow and snowfall.
A Few Words About Snow and Snowfall
snjór: snow; snær: snow; hjarn: crust of snow or snow that does not melt in summer; mjöll and nýsnævi: new-fallen snow; fönn: drifted heap of snow, snow-wreath, also snow that does not melt in summer; lausamjöll: powder snow; krap: slush
snjókoma and fannkoma: snowfall; kafald: thick fall of snow; bylur and hríð: snowstorm; drífa: snow-drift; él: a sudden fall of snow or hailstorm, or hail; fjúk: drift, drifting snow-storm; hraglandi: sleet, cold drizzling shower; kóf: thick fall of snow; ofanbylur: snowfall in a wind; skafrenningur: drifting snow; snjómugga: a small snowfall; hundslappadrífa: very heavy snowfall in calm weather, large snowflakes.