Climate of Greenland

Greenland’s ice cap is of great significance for the climate as it is a major source of cold and when it forms an effective barrier to air flow in the direction west-east. Air flowing from the west are often deflected to the north and contributes to a relatively mild climate along the west coast. On the east coast there is often a low pressure that enhances the westerly winds in the North Atlantic and facilitate the flow of polar air. The large production of cold air over the ice cap causes often fall wind of bora-character in the fjord areas. There are wind, sometimes storms, which weakens with distance from shore.

Year around there will be formed a thin layer of highly cooled air over the ice cap, a ground inversion which slopes parallel to the ice surface down to the coast on both sides. The air on the ice is colder, hence denser than air at the same level of the free atmosphere. Receiving an ‘inversion air’ as the air seeping down and deflected to the right due to earth’s rotation. The wind is approximately  45 ° on the height contours. This snow can blow with steady strength and direction for days, sometimes disturbed by wandering weather areas of various kinds. Ruling the air at ground level, southeasterly along the western slope, northwesterly along easter slope. The frequency of gales and storms are relatively small, much less than in Norwegian mountain areas. Low clouds, fog and blowing snow often creates a white out, ie a fixed shade light that hampers orientation.


Dannevig, Peter. (2012, November 12). Greenland climate. Norwegian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 8 January 2014 from