The European Arctic stretches a long distance, and therefore, the temperate can change dramatically depending on which expedition you choose. Below we give you an overview of expected temperatures for each of our Arctic destinations.
In Spitsbergen, above the Arctic Circle, the temperature can range from around -3°C (26.6°F) to 7°C (44.6°F). The cold sea current from Siberia influences the east coast of Spitsbergen and the resulting lower temperatures. In contrast, the west coast is warmed by the Gulf Stream and can be reached by sea throughout summer.
Greenland’s average temperature rarely exceeds 10°C (50° F) in the warmest summer months. In southern parts of the country and the innermost parts of the long fjords, the temperature can, however, rise to more than 20°C (68° F) from June to August. As with most things in Greenland, the climate is influenced by the ever-present ice. The ice is partly responsible for the formation of large high-pressure systems that dominate the area during spring and summer and enjoy the typically calm and settled weather. East Greenland has, on average, 300 days of sunshine a year!
The long coast of Norway means we may experience a diverse range of weather conditions and temperatures. Days are long, giving us ample time to explore. Temperatures can range from 8 °C (46 °F) to 15 °C (59 °F), however, it is not unusual to have balmy days of 20°C (68°F) or more during the summer months.
Summer officially arrives in Scotland in June. Long golden days are to be expected, allowing us more opportunities to land. The temperature is moderate, usually in the mid to late teens (°C), but when the sun shines it can be very warm. Rain can be on the horizon at any time though, so do make sure you are prepared with a waterproof jacket and pants, a small umbrella and waterproof protection for valuables such as your camera.
The Arctic & Climate Change
For the past two decades, our expedition team have returned from the high latitudes convinced that dynamic environmental changes are taking place. Temperatures are milder, ice shelves shed vast icebergs and our ships gain access to places unthought of only a few years ago.
We aren’t alone. Scientific organisations have been measuring climate change as part of ongoing studies on weather, sea ice, wildlife and human populations. As a result, we’ve learned that the Arctic is at the frontline of climate change.
Over the past few decades, the annual average Arctic temperature has increased at almost twice the rate as the rest of the world, causing widespread melting of glaciers and sea ice. As this happens, it exposes darker land and ocean surfaces, increasing absorption of the sun’s heat and the runoff of freshwater into the ocean.
The average extent of sea ice cover in summer has declined by 15-20 percent over the past 30 years. This decline is expected to accelerate. Arctic sea ice is vital to polar bears, arctic foxes, seals and many fish and seabirds. It acts as a highway for caribou and musk ox and has long been the hunting grounds for the Inuit.
We believe that it’s time to take notice of what’s happening in the Arctic, to listen to the scientists and to see for ourselves the impact of climate change – and then return home to spread the message.