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  5. March

Average Weather in March in Longyearbyen Svalbard & Jan Mayen

Daily high temperatures are around 14°F, rarely falling below -5°F or exceeding 33°F.

Daily low temperatures are around 3°F, rarely falling below -17°F or exceeding 24°F.

For reference, on July 22, the hottest day of the year, temperatures in Longyearbyen typically range from 41°F to 47°F, while on February 18, the coldest day of the year, they range from 3°F to 14°F.

Average High and Low Temperature in March

The daily average high (red line) and low (blue line) temperature, with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands. The thin dotted lines are the corresponding average perceived temperatures.

The figure below shows you a compact characterization of the hourly average temperatures for the quarter of the year centered on March. The horizontal axis is the day, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the color is the average temperature for that hour and day.

Average Hourly Temperature in March

Average Hourly Temperature in March in Longyearbyen18152229112233445566778899101011111212131314141515161617171818191920202121222223232424252526262727282829293030313112 AM4 AM8 AM12 PM4 PM8 PM12 AMFebAprfrigidfreezing
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
The average hourly temperature, color coded into bands. The shaded overlays indicate night and civil twilight.

Big Sky, Montana, United States (3,629 miles away); Sŭngjibaegam, North Korea (3,749 miles); and Sinegorsk, Russia (3,500 miles) are the far-away foreign places with temperatures most similar to Longyearbyen (view comparison).

Clouds

The month of March in Longyearbyen experiences gradually decreasing cloud cover, with the percentage of time that the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy decreasing from 91% to 85%.

The clearest day of the month is March 31, with clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy conditions 16% of the time.

For reference, on January 20, the cloudiest day of the year, the chance of overcast or mostly cloudy conditions is 92%, while on May 28, the clearest day of the year, the chance of clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy skies is 40%.

Cloud Cover Categories in March

Cloud Cover Categories in March in Longyearbyen1815222911223344556677889910101111121213131414151516161717181819192020212122222323242425252626272728282929303031310%100%10%90%20%80%30%70%40%60%50%50%60%40%70%30%80%20%90%10%100%0%FebAprMar 19%Mar 19%Mar 3116%Mar 3116%Mar 1110%Mar 1110%Mar 2113%Mar 2113%partly cloudymostly cloudyovercastclear
0% clear 20% mostly clear 40% partly cloudy 60% mostly cloudy 80% overcast 100%
The percentage of time spent in each cloud cover band, categorized by the percentage of the sky covered by clouds.

Precipitation

A wet day is one with at least 0.04 inches of liquid or liquid-equivalent precipitation. In Longyearbyen, the chance of a wet day over the course of March is decreasing, starting the month at 23% and ending it at 18%.

For reference, the year's highest daily chance of a wet day is 27% on September 25, and its lowest chance is 9% on May 29.

Over the course of March in Longyearbyen, the chance of a day with only rain remains an essentially constant 2% throughout, the chance of a day with mixed snow and rain decreases from 5% to 3%, and the chance of a day with only snow remains an essentially constant 15% throughout.

Probability of Precipitation in March

The percentage of days in which various types of precipitation are observed, excluding trace quantities: rain alone, snow alone, and mixed (both rain and snow fell in the same day).

Rainfall

To show variation within the month and not just the monthly total, we show the rainfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day.

The average sliding 31-day rainfall during March in Longyearbyen is essentially constant, remaining about 0.2 inches throughout, and rarely exceeding 0.9 inches or falling below -0.0 inches.

Average Monthly Rainfall in March

The average rainfall (solid line) accumulated over the course of a sliding 31-day period centered on the day in question, with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands. The thin dotted line is the corresponding average liquid-equivalent snowfall.

Snowfall

We report snowfall in liquid-equivalent terms. The actual depth of new snowfall is typically between 5 and 10 times the liquid-equivalent amount, assuming the ground is frozen. As with rainfall, we consider the liquid-equivalent snowfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day.

The average sliding 31-day liquid-equivalent snowfall during March in Longyearbyen is essentially constant, remaining about 0.9 inches throughout, and rarely exceeding 1.8 inches or falling below 0.2 inches.

The highest average 31-day liquid-equivalent accumulation is 1.0 inches on March 8.

Average Monthly Liquid-Equivalent Snowfall in March

The average liquid-equivalent snowfall (solid line) accumulated over the course of a sliding 31-day period centered on the day in question, with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands. The thin dotted line is the corresponding average rainfall.

Sun

Due to its extreme latitude, Longyearbyen experiences polar day (also known as the midnight Sun) during the summer and polar night during the winter. These are periods of time in which the sun is continuously above or below the horizon for more than one day. The precise start and end dates of polar day and night vary from year to year and depend on the precise location and elevation of the observer, and the local topography.

Neither polar day nor polar night occur during the month of March.

Over the course of March in Longyearbyen, the length of the day is very rapidly increasing. From the start to the end of the month, the length of the day increases by 7 hours, 54 minutes, implying an average daily increase of 15 minutes, 48 seconds, and weekly increase of 1 hour, 50 minutes, 37 seconds.

The shortest day of the month is March 1, with 7 hours, 27 minutes of daylight and the longest day is March 31, with 15 hours, 22 minutes of daylight.

Hours of Daylight and Twilight in March

The number of hours during which the Sun is visible (black line). From bottom (most yellow) to top (most gray), the color bands indicate: full daylight, twilight (civil, nautical, and astronomical), and full night.

The latest sunrise of the month in Longyearbyen is 8:27 AM on March 1 and the earliest sunrise is 3 hours, 7 minutes earlier at 5:20 AM on March 24.

The earliest sunset is 3:54 PM on March 1 and the latest sunset is 4 hours, 50 minutes later at 8:45 PM on March 31.

Daylight saving time (DST) starts at 3:00 AM on March 25, 2018, shifting sunrise and sunset to be an hour later.

Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time in March

Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time in March in Longyearbyen1815222911223344556677889910101111121213131414151516161717181819192020212122222323242425252626272728282929303031312 AM4 AM6 AM8 AM10 AM12 PM2 PM4 PM6 PM8 PM10 PM12 AMFebApr5:20 AM5:20 AMMar 246:51 PMMar 246:51 PM8:27 AM8:27 AMMar 13:54 PMMar 13:54 PMMar 25DSTMar 25DSTSolarMidnightSolarMidnightSolarNoon
The solar day over the course of March. From bottom to top, the black lines are the previous solar midnight, sunrise, solar noon, sunset, and the next solar midnight. The day, twilights (civil, nautical, and astronomical), and night are indicated by the color bands from yellow to gray. The transitions to and from daylight saving time are indicated by the 'DST' labels.

Humidity

We base the humidity comfort level on the dew point, as it determines whether perspiration will evaporate from the skin, thereby cooling the body. Lower dew points feel drier and higher dew points feel more humid. Unlike temperature, which typically varies significantly between night and day, dew point tends to change more slowly, so while the temperature may drop at night, a muggy day is typically followed by a muggy night.

The chance that a given day will be muggy in Longyearbyen is essentially constant during March, remaining around 0% throughout.

Humidity Comfort Levels in March

dry 55°F comfortable 60°F humid 65°F muggy 70°F oppressive 75°F miserable
The percentage of time spent at various humidity comfort levels, categorized by dew point.

Wind

This section discusses the wide-area hourly average wind vector (speed and direction) at 10 meters above the ground. The wind experienced at any given location is highly dependent on local topography and other factors, and instantaneous wind speed and direction vary more widely than hourly averages.

The average hourly wind speed in Longyearbyen is decreasing during March, decreasing from 12.4 miles per hour to 11.1 miles per hour over the course of the month.

For reference, on January 2, the windiest day of the year, the daily average wind speed is 13.3 miles per hour, while on June 21, the calmest day of the year, the daily average wind speed is 7.4 miles per hour.

Average Wind Speed in March

The average of mean hourly wind speeds (dark gray line), with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands.
The hourly average wind direction in Longyearbyen throughout March is predominantly from the east, with a peak proportion of 49% on March 18.

Wind Direction in March

Wind Direction in March in Longyearbyen1815222911223344556677889910101111121213131414151516161717181819192020212122222323242425252626272728282929303031310%100%20%80%40%60%60%40%80%20%100%0%FebApreastnorthsouthwest
northeastsouthwest
The percentage of hours in which the mean wind direction is from each of the four cardinal wind directions, excluding hours in which the mean wind speed is less than 1.0 mph. The lightly tinted areas at the boundaries are the percentage of hours spent in the implied intermediate directions (northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest).

Water Temperature

Longyearbyen is located near a large body of water (e.g., ocean, sea, or large lake). This section reports on the wide-area average surface temperature of that water.

The average surface water temperature in Longyearbyen is essentially constant during March, remaining around 32°F throughout.

Average Water Temperature in March

The daily average water temperature (purple line), with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands.

Growing Season

Definitions of the growing season vary throughout the world, but for the purposes of this report, we define it as the longest continuous period of non-freezing temperatures (≥ 32°F) in the year (the calendar year in the Northern Hemisphere, or from July 1 until June 30 in the Southern Hemisphere).

The growing season in Longyearbyen typically lasts for 2.5 months (76 days), from around June 14 to around August 30, rarely starting before May 29 or after July 1, and rarely ending before August 10 or after September 17.

The month of March in Longyearbyen is reliably fully outside of the growing season.

Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season in March

Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season in March in Longyearbyen1815222911223344556677889910101111121213131414151516161717181819192020212122222323242425252626272728282929303031310%100%10%90%20%80%30%70%40%60%50%50%60%40%70%30%80%20%90%10%100%0%FebApr0%Mar 160%Mar 16frigidfreezingvery cold
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
The percentage of time spent in various temperature bands. The black line is the percentage chance that a given day is within the growing season.

Growing degree days are a measure of yearly heat accumulation used to predict plant and animal development, and defined as the integral of warmth above a base temperature, discarding any excess above a maximum temperature. In this report, we use a base of 50°F and a cap of 86°F.

The average accumulated growing degree days in Longyearbyen are essentially constant during March, remaining around 0°F throughout.

Growing Degree Days in March

The average growing degree days accumulated over the course of March, with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands.

Solar Energy

This section discusses the total daily incident shortwave solar energy reaching the surface of the ground over a wide area, taking full account of seasonal variations in the length of the day, the elevation of the Sun above the horizon, and absorption by clouds and other atmospheric constituents. Shortwave radiation includes visible light and ultraviolet radiation.

The average daily incident shortwave solar energy in Longyearbyen is increasing during March, rising by 1.2 kWh, from 0.1 kWh to 1.4 kWh, over the course of the month.

Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy in March

Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy in March in Longyearbyen1815222911223344556677889910101111121213131414151516161717181819192020212122222323242425252626272728282929303031310.0 kWh0.5 kWh1.0 kWh1.5 kWh2.0 kWh2.5 kWh3.0 kWh3.5 kWh4.0 kWh4.5 kWh5.0 kWhFebAprMar 10.1 kWhMar 10.1 kWhMar 311.4 kWhMar 311.4 kWhMar 160.6 kWhMar 160.6 kWh
The average daily shortwave solar energy reaching the ground per square meter (orange line), with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands.

Topography

For the purposes of this report, the geographical coordinates of Longyearbyen are 78.223 deg latitude, 15.647 deg longitude, and 240 ft elevation.

The topography within 2 miles of Longyearbyen contains very significant variations in elevation, with a maximum elevation change of 1,594 feet and an average elevation above sea level of 358 feet. Within 10 miles contains very significant variations in elevation (3,448 feet). Within 50 miles also contains extreme variations in elevation (4,160 feet).

The area within 2 miles of Longyearbyen is covered by snow and glaciers (36%), water (35%), and sparse vegetation (25%), within 10 miles by snow and glaciers (50%) and water (30%), and within 50 miles by snow and glaciers (60%) and water (28%).

Data Sources

This report illustrates the typical weather in Longyearbyen year round, based on a statistical analysis of historical hourly weather reports and model reconstructions from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2016.

Temperature and Dew Point

There is only a single weather station, Svalbard Airport, Longyear, in our network suitable to be used as a proxy for the historical temperature and dew point records of Longyearbyen.

At a distance of 5 kilometers from Longyearbyen, closer than our threshold of 150 kilometers, this station is deemed sufficiently nearby to be relied upon as our primary source for temperature and dew point records.

The station records are corrected for the elevation difference between the station and Longyearbyen according to the International Standard Atmosphere , and by the relative change present in the MERRA-2 satellite-era reanalysis between the two locations.

Please note that the station records themselves may additionally have been back-filled using other nearby stations or the MERRA-2 reanalysis.

Other Data

All data relating to the Sun's position (e.g., sunrise and sunset) are computed using astronomical formulas from the book, Astronomical Tables of the Sun, Moon and Planets , by Jean Meeus.

All other weather data, including cloud cover, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and solar flux, come from NASA's MERRA-2 Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis . This reanalysis combines a variety of wide-area measurements in a state-of-the-art global meteorological model to reconstruct the hourly history of weather throughout the world on a 50-kilometer grid.

Land Use data comes from the Global Land Cover SHARE database , published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Elevation data comes from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) , published by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Names, locations, and time zones of places and some airports come from the GeoNames Geographical Database .

Time zones for aiports and weather stations are provided by AskGeo.com .

Maps are © Esri, with data from National Geographic, Esri, DeLorme, NAVTEQ, UNEP-WCMC, USGS, NASA, ESA, METI, NRCAN, GEBCO, NOAA, and iPC.

Disclaimer

The information on this site is provided as is, without any assurances as to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Weather data is prone to errors, outages, and other defects. We assume no responsibility for any decisions made on the basis of the content presented on this site.

We draw particular cautious attention to our reliance on the MERRA-2 model-based reconstructions for a number of important data series. While having the tremendous advantages of temporal and spatial completeness, these reconstructions: (1) are based on computer models that may have model-based errors, (2) are coarsely sampled on a 50 km grid and are therefore unable to reconstruct the local variations of many microclimates, and (3) have particular difficulty with the weather in some coastal areas, especially small islands.

We further caution that our travel scores are only as good as the data that underpin them, that weather conditions at any given location and time are unpredictable and variable, and that the definition of the scores reflects a particular set of preferences that may not agree with those of any particular reader.