Unusually Warm Winter in Iceland

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Unusually Warm Winter in Iceland

The official First Day of Summer in Iceland isn’t until after two weeks but at the Icelandic Meteorological Office the winter ended on March 31. The 2009-2010 winter season was unusually warm—the temperature was 1.6°C above average in Reykjavík.

The frozen Reykjavík pond. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.

In Stykkishólmur, west Iceland, the temperature this winter was 1.4°C warmer than average, in Akureyri in the north and Berufjördur in the east it was 0.9°C above the average winter temperature and in the Westman Islands in the south 1.1°C above average, Morgunbladid reports.

The air pressure was unusually high—8.4 hPa above average in Reykjavík. The air pressure has only been higher on three occasions, in 1823, 1968 and 1969. According to meteorologist Trausti Jónsson, cold weather on the European mainland causes high air pressure in Iceland.

In south Iceland the winter was rather dry—precipitation measured 215 millimeters in Reykjavík. The winter hasn’t been drier since 1977 when the precipitation measured 111 millimeters.

In north Iceland the precipitation was different each month. The overall precipitation measured 234 millimeters in Akureyri this winter, which is 20 percent above average.

Akureyri saw record snow layer depth in December. The snow melted in January and then it snowed again in February, while most of March was snow free.

Akureyri had 57 days of complete snow cover, 16 fewer than during the average winter. There was very little snow in Reykjavík. The capital only had 13 days of complete snow cover, 31 fewer days than during an average winter.

Click here to watch a slideshow showing the snow cover in Akureyri in December.