General information about Iceland
second largest island in Europe, lies
close to the Arctic Circle. It is
about midway between New York and Moscow. Iceland has a
total area of 103,000 square km (39,756 square miles). From north
to south the greatest distance is about 300 km (185 miles), from
west to east about 500 km (305 miles). The coastline is about 6,000
km (3,700 miles) and the shortest distances to other countries are
286 km (180 miles) to Greenland, 795 km
(495 miles) to Scotland and 950
km (590 miles) to Norway.
Considering the northerly location of Iceland, its
climate is much milder than might be expected, especially in
winter. The mean annual temperature for Reykjavik's is 5°C,
the average January temperature being -0.4°C and July 11.2°C. The
annual precipitation on the south coast is about 3,000 mm, whereas
in the highlands north of Vatnajökull it drops to 400 mm or less.
The weather in Iceland is on the
whole quite changeable and depends mostly on the tracks of the
atmospheric depressions crossing the North
Atlantic. The passage of a depression
some distance south of Iceland causes relatively cold and dry
weather, especially in southern districts, while one passing
northeastward between Iceland and Greenland brings mild weather,
moderately dry in the north.
areas in Iceland tend to
be windy, gales are common, especially in winter, while
thunderstorms are extremely rare.
The Northern Lights can often be
seen, especially in autumn and early winter.
For two to three months in summer
there is continuous daylight in Iceland, and early spring and late autumn enjoy long twilight.
The really dark period (three to four hours' daylight) lasts from
about the middle of November until the end of January.
Iceland's southern and western coasts experience relatively
mild winter temperatures thanks to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. July
and August are the warmest months and, in general, the chances of
fine weather improve as you move north and east. The sunniest weather
is around Akureyri and Lake Mżvatn in the central north and warmest around Egilsstašir in
the east, yet none of those places quite escapes the discomfort of
a chilly wind. While these areas are more prone to clear weather
than the coastal areas, the deserts in the interior may experience
problems such as blizzards and high winds that whip up dust and
sand into swirling, gritty maelstroms.
Geologically Iceland is a very young country, and the process of its
formation is still going on. Iceland's interior consists entirely of mountains and high
plateaus, devoid of human habitation. Its average height is 500 m
above sea level, the highest point being Hvannadalshnśkur in the
Öręfajökull glacier in Southeast
Iceland, reaching a height of
2.119 m (6,950 feet).
For more informations about Iceland
For photographs of iceland
For information about Driving in Iceland