Greenland is the largest island in the world. Its northerly location, at the point where the Atlantic and Arctic oceans meet, means that Greenland is surrounded principally by cold currents — so the coasts are constantly being cooled. This, combined with the chill radiating from the inland ice, gives Greenland its arctic climate.

The ice cap or inland ice covers 1,138,851 square miles, equivalent to 85 percent of Greenland’s total area, and extends 1,552 miles from north to south and up to 621 km from east to west. At its center, the ice can be up to almost two miles thick. Greenland’s ice cap represents 10 percent of the world’s total fresh water reserves. If all the ice were to melt, the world’s oceans would rise almost 23 feet.

Climate: Greenland is often associated with cold and darkness and the weather can, of course, become frigid. However, there is also plenty of light. Although the polar darkness often reigns (in Qaanaaq, the sun does not rise for a solid three months!), it is never totally dark here. Greenland enjoys many more hours of summer than anywhere south of it, but the weather is nowhere near as warm, even though the light here is much more intense.

Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun: The Northern Lights appear all year round, but are most impressive during the autumn months. They can also be seen in March, but “disappear” in the bright summer nights. The midnight sun is another magnificent Greenland phenomenon, encountered north of the Arctic Circle. Daylight can be enjoyed round the clock, depending on how far north you are. For example, in Uummannaq, the sun is out from May 16 to July 28, and during that period “normal” methods of computing what time it is become almost meaningless. Time stands still.

Activities: In Greenland you can enjoy such unusual activities as dog-sled tours, hiking, kayaking, base camp at the ice-cap, and cruising among icebergs.

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