Greenland

Greenland is the largest island in the world. It is located in the northwest Atlantic. Because of the harsh climatic conditions, however, the population is not numerous. Greenland is wild and untouched land that is ironically among the most affected by the global warming places of the planet.

northern lights greenlandGeography. Greenland is located between 59 and 83° north latitude. To the north lies the Arctic Ocean, the Baffin Bay is situated to the west, and to the south and east lies the Atlantic Ocean.

The island has an area of 2,175,600 sq. Km. Through the territory of southern Greenland passes the Arctic Circle. Greenland is located near the northeastern Canadian coast.

Some of the islands of Canada are distanced at only 30 km from Greenland. Geographically, this vast island is part of North America, but it belongs to the Kingdom of Denmark.

In the recent years, Greenland managed to win substantial autonomy.

building in greenlandRelief. Greenland’s territory has a very high altitude. The main part of the island  is at more than 2000 meters.

The Gunnbjorns Fjeld is the highest peak of Greenland and is located in the west coast, next to the Atlantic Ocean. There is an altitude of about 3700 meters.

The terrain in the most parts of Greenland, however, is an illusion, because although almost the entire island is located at more than 2000 meters, however, let’s not forget that the thickness of ice varies mostly from 2000 to 2500 m!

We can imagine how insignificant would be the elevation of Greenland if all those ice melt. The coastline of the island is heavily indented. There are numerous islands, bays and peninsulas.

greenland from aboveClimate. Greenland is one of the harshest places on the planet. It falls into the borders of two climate zones – polar and subpolar. The subpolar climate covers a very small part of the island.

This climate can be found only in the coastal areas of southern Greenland. The capital Nuuk falls within this climate zone. The winter is very long and cold.

From October to April the daytime temperatures are negative. In January the warmest days are not more than (-5) °C!

From April to October, when the is the summer semester, the days are also cold or cool. The warmest part of the year is from mid June to mid-August, when the temperatures reach 10°C and 12°C in July!

As a compare, the daily temperature in July in Nuuk is less than the daily in Rome in January.

The precipitation in the sub polar areas of Greenland, are negligible. In most of the year the precipitation falls as a snow and only in the warmest months – as a rain.

greenland ice floatsPractically, snow and ice are completely excluded only from mid-July to mid August. In the polar regions of Greenland the conditions are even harsher.

Qaanaaq City is one of the largest settlements in Greenland polar areas. Here are always negative night temperatures. The daily exceed 0°C only during June, July and August.

In July the thermometers reaches 3°C and is the summer in the Qaanaaq in its high. One of the specifics of the Greenland climate is that do not have a daylight in every month.

In November, December and January in Qaanaaq sun does not rise at all. This is the polar night. Other months like October and February are very dark, but the sun rises for few hours.

The summer is absolutely different. In May, June and July the sun never sets, in August sets for only one hour a day and in April the daylight is 20 hours.

March and September, when is the vernal and autumnal equinox,there are almost equal day and night. The nature of Greenland is wild and is untouched. Almost the entire island is covered by glaciers.

greenland in the summerUnfortunately, although it is quite remote from the industrial pollution, it is strongly affected by the global warming.

If these processes do not stop, there is a real danger, because if the melting of the glaciers continue in the future, the level of the ocean will increase and thus can flood many coastal areas in the world, which have insignificant altitude.

The only places in Greenland, where the summer snow and ice is completely melt during the summer is the ocean coast.

In spite of this fact, here do not grow trees, and can be seen only some herbaceous plants, flowers, mosses and lichens. The reason is that in deepness the soil remains frozen and does not allow the flourishing of plants with developed root system.

This encounter unique and rare species such as polar bear, polar fox, polar hare, walrus, seal and so on. The seagulls adapt to the harsh conditions of Greenland very well.

These birds do not only fishing, but also benefit from the hunting of the polar bears and white foxes to feed with the rich remains of their lunch.

town in greenlandPopulation and settlements. Greenland is extremely sparsely populated. The residents are highly concentrated in the coastal areas of the country, where are the few cities of Greenland.

The total population of Greenland is 60 000 people of which about one quarter (about 15,000) live in the island capital of Nuuk.

Other major cities in Greenland are Qaanaaq (650 inhabitants), Qaqortoq(3500 inhabitants), Paamiut (13,000 inhabitants), Sisimiut (6500), Ilulissat (5000 inhabitants) and so on.

kulusuk greenlandEconomy. Greenland’s economy is strongly restricted by the harsh nature and hard weather conditions.

The population has an average standard of living – lower than the U.S., Canada and Western Europe and equal or slightly higher than that of Eastern Europe.

The economy relies heavily on fishing. Cold, clear waters around Greenland are very rich in fish. In the recent years, Greenland seeks to develop tourism.

Many foreigners are interested by the clean and without human intervention local nature.

nearby ilulissatOne of the biggest problem facing the economy of Greenland appears to be infrastructure development.

Here it is impossible to build roads as icy terrain does not allow it. The local people and tourists usually use water and air transport.

Interesting facts.

* Greenland was discovered by the Vikings in the period of the 10th – 11th century.

* Greenland is part of Denmark, but has significant autonomy.

* From 1972 to 1982, Greenland is a member of the European Union.

* Greenland is among the most affected countries by the global warming.

* Symbol of Greenland is the polar bear.

* Indigenous people of Greenland are the Inuit Eskimos.