Iceland is an island in the stormiest region of the North Atlantic between Norway and Greenland. Two features control its weather and climate: it lies in the track most frequented by depressions throughout the year; it also lies in the path of the current of warm oceanic water called the Gulf Stream. As a result the weather is disturbed and changeable throughout the year but sea-level temperatures are surprisingly mild during the winter. The Arctic Circle just touches the north coast of Iceland.
Inland, Iceland is mountainous with several volcanic peaks rising above 5,000 feet. These higher areas are covered with snow all year round and there are extensive ice fields at higher levels. Although very cold Arctic air occasionally affects Iceland in spring and winter and drifting ice may block some north coast inlets, the main port and capital (Reykjavik) is ice-free all year. Summers are generally cool and cloudy with brief spells of fine pleasant weather. Much of the winter precipitation is snow, and autumn and winter are the wettest seasons. Average daily maximum temperatures range from 2 °C in winter to 14 °C in summer.
Last updated: 17 December 2013