Nomad Greenland

TYPES OF WEATHER

All weathers are beautiful in their own way, as long as you are prepared for them. Here are 7 different types of weather with a few ideas for how to beat them at their own game. (Source: greenland.com)

WINDY

Some towns are notorious for being windy – like Nuuk – but in general, any town or settlement in Greenland can get breezy at the drop of a hat, as nearly all of them are located on the coast. Winds of 5-10 mps are doable and nothing to worry about, but once you get up into the range of 15-20 mps, the wind is impossible to ignore. FYI – winds up to 25-30 mps are not uncommon.


Tip
The best way to beat the wind is to use windproof outer layers and to keep your head warm with a hat or a Buff headband. A cosy wool sweater doesn’t hurt either. And if you should have a sailing tour scheduled on a windy day, it is best to have your sea legs about you! But if it is too windy, the tour might be cancelled anyway.

FOGGY

Fog can be tricky business because it not only makes the temperature drop but also disorients a bit by hiding landmarks in a grey, misty cloak.

Tip

Take an extra warm layer plus a warm hat on hiking or boat tours so you can brush off the chill. A thin waterproof outer layer will help keep the wet mist from settling in your clothes. If you are out hiking without a guide and are wary of the route, stay where you are until the fog dissipates. On the plus side, fog can make for really dramatic photos!

HIGH SUNSHINE

High sunshine is of course what everyone would probably wish for, but maybe what nobody expects in Greenland. The truth is, in summer it actually can get surprisingly warm when sitting on the terrace or hiking with a pack. And north of the Arctic Circle, the sun does not go away in the summer months. In the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn, there can easily be plenty of sunshine, but it probably won’t be warm enough to sit outside and sunbathe.

Tip

No matter the season, even in winter, bring sunscreen and apply it often. There are no trees to protect you from harmful UV rays, and if you are doing an activity like skiing or glacier walking on the Greenland Ice Sheet, there will be a lot of reflection. Also bring sunglasses and a water bottle. Wear loose-fitting clothes made of breathable materials because it is easier to adjust body temperature with several thin layers than one thick layer.

COLD TO THE BONE

Greenland remains a frozen planet from late autumn to late spring with temperatures plummeting to 20-30 degrees below zero in many places in the coldest months of December, January and February. It is fantastic to imagine society thriving in this environment.

Tip

To be able to spend more than two minutes outdoors you must have a well-insulated winter jacket, and it helps if it has a hood with a lining. Insulated snow pants, winter boots, wool socks, plus a hat and scarf and gloves are also needed. Depending on your activity, long underwear will also be good. Many Greenlanders swear by Canada Goose brand and muskox wool products. With so many pieces, thank goodness for coat checks in the hotels and restaurants.

SNOWY

The snow can be so peaceful and soothing, blanketing everything in a fresh layer of white that crunches underfoot. It even gives the air a particular scent.

Tip

Freshly-fallen snow can be quite slippery on ice-covered ground, so for a little extra stability, use easy-to-remove shoe grips with spikes. Just remember to remove them before going into shops.

RAINY

In summer, rain replaces snow, giving life to all the flowers and angelica, making them grow colourful and large while they can. Getting wet does not scare Greenlanders, so your city tour or outdoor adventure most likely will not get cancelled just because it is raining. Oddly enough, thunder and lightning are a rare occasion.

Tip

Pack a rain jacket and rain pants, and it would be a good thing if your shoes or hiking boots were waterproof, too. A lightweight wool sweater in the pack might also be a welcome sight.

TOTAL WHITE-OUT & PITERAQ STORM

These most extreme of the extreme conditions are normal for Greenland here and there in the winter and spring, but they do not last for more than a few days. If you should travel on one of these days, you will be delayed. But don’t worry; cabin fever does not set in until Day 5.
If you experience delays due to weather the Airline you are travelling with, will provide your clients with accommodation, transportation to and from hotel and meal vouchers.

Tip

The best thing to do on these high-wind and dangerous days is stay inside where it is warm and dry with a hot mug of something delicious. Don’t forget a good book!

HOW TO DRESS UP?

There is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing. Regardless of whether you are travelling to Greenland during the winter, the spring or the summer, we recommend that you dress according to the layer-to-layer principle. The outermost layer should be wind and waterproof, and underneath you should wear items such as synthetic fibre fur and/or wool. Even in the middle of summer, when it can be warm on land, sailing trips can be cold as the temperature of the water is only one or two degrees Celsius (33-36 degrees Fahrenheit). So bring a hat, scarf and gloves with you on a sailing trip. During the summer it can occasionally be so warm that shorts and t-shirts are suitable, although mosquitoes can be a problem in July and August. It is important to bring a mosquito net, insect repellent and antihistamine if you are allergic to insect bites.
Regardless of the nature of your visit to Greenland, you will often have to travel a lot on foot, and frequently in hilly and uneven terrain. Therefore it is important to bring good, waterproof walking boots or walking shoes with a sturdy moulded sole. If it is the first time you are using this type of footwear, make sure you break the boots in before departure so as to avoid blisters.
If you are coming to Greenland in spring to drive a dogsled, you can hire leather clothing and boots at the local tourist office or from the sled tour company. This is highly recommended as even light winds at sub-zero temperatures can feel bitterly cold.

SUMMER

WINTER