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Greenland

Travel Greenland with us


Greenland(Greenlandic: Kalaallit Nunaat; Danish: Grønland) is the world's largest island, in the Arctic far northeast of North America. For thousands of years this icy landmass has been inhabited by Arctic peoples. In the 10th century it was settled by Vikings (or at least a small part of it was), and to this day it is part of the Kingdom of Denmark.

Climate

Although all of Greenland is known for being cold, different parts of Greenland have significantly different temperatures. For example, parts of Southern Greenland, have in the past reached 86 °F (30 °C); meanwhile, temperatures in the high central plateau and far north of Greenland can get as low as −87 °F (−66 °C).

Coastal regions on the northern half of Greenland experience winter temperatures similar to or slightly warmer than the Canadian Archipelago, with average January temperatures of −30 °C to −25 °C (−22 °F to −13 °F). The coastal regions in the southern part of the island are influenced more by open ocean water and by frequent passage of cyclones, both of which help to keep the temperature there from being as low as in the north. As a result of these influences, the average temperature in these areas in January is considerably higher.

The interior ice sheet escapes much of the influence of heat transfer from the ocean or from cyclones, and its high elevation also acts to give it a colder climate since temperatures tend to decrease with elevation. Snow cover, combined with the ice sheet's elevation, keep temperatures on the ice sheet lower, with July averages between −12 °C and 0 °C (10 °F and 32 °F).


According to the Icelandic Sagas, Erik the Red chose the name "Greenland" to entice settlers from Iceland. In fact, Greenland has far more ice cover (about 84% of its surface area) than Iceland does, but the southern coasts the Vikings settled are green in summer, and were likely more so during the Medieval Warm Period.

Be careful with maps of Greenland, as many Greenlandic names simply reference a particular geographical feature. For example, "Kangerlussuaq" means "Big Fjord" and so is not only the Greenlandic name for Søndre Strømfjord.

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