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Average Weather in Ilulissat Greenland

In Ilulissat, the summers are cold; the winters are frigid, snowy, and windy; and it is mostly cloudy year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from -3°F to 52°F and is rarely below -24°F or above 58°F.

Climate Summary

frigidfreezingvery coldcoldvery coldfreezingJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec51%51%24%24%overcastclearprecipitation: 1.8 inprecipitation: 1.8 in0.3 in0.3 inmuggy: 0%muggy: 0%drydrytourism score: 1.1tourism score: 1.10.00.0
Click on each chart for more information.

Based on the tourism score, the best time of year to visit Ilulissat for warm-weather activities is for the entire month of July.

Temperature

The warm season lasts for 3.0 months, from June 4 to September 5, with an average daily high temperature above 43°F. The hottest day of the year is July 18, with an average high of 52°F and low of 42°F.

The cold season lasts for 3.2 months, from December 28 to April 3, with an average daily high temperature below 17°F. The coldest day of the year is February 27, with an average low of -3°F and high of 8°F.

Average High and Low Temperature

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 entire year of hourly average temperatures. The horizontal axis is the day of the year, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the color is the average temperature for that hour and day.

Average Hourly Temperature

Average Hourly Temperature in IlulissatJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec12 AM4 AM8 AM12 PM4 PM8 PM12 AMvery coldcoldfrigidfreezingfreezingfrigidcold
The average hourly temperature, color coded into bands: 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 shaded overlays indicate night and civil twilight.

Terskol, Russia (3,553 miles away) is the far-away foreign place with temperatures most similar to Ilulissat (view comparison).

Clouds

In Ilulissat, the average percentage of the sky covered by clouds experiences significant seasonal variation over the course of the year.

The clearer part of the year in Ilulissat begins around April 22 and lasts for 6.4 months, ending around November 3. On July 10, the clearest day of the year, the sky is clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 51% of the time, and overcast or mostly cloudy 49% of the time.

The cloudier part of the year begins around November 3 and lasts for 5.6 months, ending around April 22. On January 1, the cloudiest day of the year, the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 76% of the time, and clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 24% of the time.

Cloud Cover Categories

Cloud Cover Categories in IlulissatclearercloudiercloudierJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%100%10%90%20%80%30%70%40%60%50%50%60%40%70%30%80%20%90%10%100%0%Jul 1051%Jul 1051%Jan 124%Jan 124%Apr 2238%Apr 2238%Nov 338%Nov 338%partly cloudymostly cloudyclearovercastmostly clear
The percentage of time spent in each cloud cover band, categorized by the percentage of the sky covered by clouds: clear < 20% < mostly clear < 40% < partly cloudy < 60% < mostly cloudy < 80% < overcast.

Precipitation

A wet day is one with at least 0.04 inches of liquid or liquid-equivalent precipitation. The chance of wet days in Ilulissat varies throughout the year.

The wetter season lasts 5.3 months, from June 13 to November 23, with a greater than 14% chance of a given day being a wet day. The chance of a wet day peaks at 23% on August 16.

The drier season lasts 6.7 months, from November 23 to June 13. The smallest chance of a wet day is 6% on January 6.

Among wet days, we distinguish between those that experience rain alone, snow alone, or a mixture of the two. Based on this categorization, the most common form of precipitation in Ilulissat changes throughout the year.

Snow alone is the most common for 6.3 months, from October 23 to May 4. The highest chance of a day with snow alone is 9% on November 29.

Rain alone is the most common for 5.7 months, from May 4 to October 23. The highest chance of a day with rain alone is 23% on August 16.

Daily Chance of Precipitation

Daily Chance of Precipitation in IlulissatsnowrainsnowJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%Aug 1623%Aug 1623%Jan 66%Jan 66%May 411%May 411%Oct 2314%Oct 2314%Jan 16%Jan 16%Jun 1314%Jun 1314%Nov 2314%Nov 2314%rainsnowmixed
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 months and not just the monthly totals, we show the rainfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Ilulissat experiences some seasonal variation in monthly rainfall.

The rainy period of the year lasts for 6.5 months, from May 3 to November 18, with a sliding 31-day rainfall of at least 0.5 inches. The most rain falls during the 31 days centered around August 16, with an average total accumulation of 1.8 inches.

The rainless period of the year lasts for 5.5 months, from November 18 to May 3. The least rain falls around January 8, with an average total accumulation of 0.1 inches.

Average Monthly Rainfall

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. Colder, drier snow tends to be on the higher end of that range and warmer, wetter snow on the lower end.

As with rainfall, we consider the snowfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Ilulissat experiences some seasonal variation in monthly liquid-equivalent snowfall.

The snowy period of the year lasts for 8.2 months, from September 22 to May 29, with a sliding 31-day liquid-equivalent snowfall of at least 0.1 inches. The most snow falls during the 31 days centered around November 19, with an average total liquid-equivalent accumulation of 0.5 inches.

The snowless period of the year lasts for 3.8 months, from May 29 to September 22. The least snow falls around July 29, with an average total liquid-equivalent accumulation of 0.0 inches.

Average Liquid-Equivalent Monthly Snowfall

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, Ilulissat 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.

In the summer in Ilulissat during 2017, the Sun is continuously above the horizon for 2.1 months, rising at 1:49 AM on May 19, and not setting again until 1:07 AM on July 24.

In the winter in Ilulissat during 2017, the Sun is continuously below the horizon for 1.5 months, setting at 12:24 PM on November 29, and not rising again until 12:14 PM on January 12.

Hours of Daylight and Twilight

Hours of Daylight and Twilight in Ilulissatpolar dayJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0 hr24 hr4 hr20 hr8 hr16 hr12 hr12 hr16 hr8 hr20 hr4 hr24 hr0 hr12 hr, 12 minMar 2012 hr, 12 minMar 2024 hr, 0 minJun 2124 hr, 0 minJun 2112 hr, 20 minSep 2212 hr, 20 minSep 220 minDec 210 minDec 21nightnightday
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.

Daylight saving time (DST) is observed in Ilulissat during 2017, starting in the spring on March 25, lasting 7.1 months, and ending in the fall on October 28.

Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time

Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time in IlulissatJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec2 AM4 AM6 AM8 AM10 AM12 PM2 PM4 PM6 PM8 PM10 PM12 AMMay 191:49 AMMay 191:49 AM1:07 AMJul 231:07 AMJul 2312:24 PMNov 2912:24 PMNov 29Jan 1212:14 PMJan 1212:14 PMMar 25DSTMar 25DSTdaynightnightnightnightSolarMidnightSolarMidnightSolarNoon
The solar day over the course of the year 2017. 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 perceived humidity level in Ilulissat, as measured by the percentage of time in which the humidity comfort level is muggy, oppressive, or miserable, does not vary significantly over the course of the year, remaining a virtually constant 0% throughout.

Humidity Comfort Levels

Humidity Comfort Levels in IlulissatJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%Jul 30%Jul 30%drydry
The percentage of time spent at various humidity comfort levels, categorized by dew point: dry < 55°F < comfortable < 60°F < humid < 65°F < muggy < 70°F < oppressive < 75°F < miserable.

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 Ilulissat experiences significant seasonal variation over the course of the year.

The windier part of the year lasts for 5.9 months, from September 20 to March 15, with average wind speeds of more than 8.6 miles per hour. The windiest day of the year is November 29, with an average hourly wind speed of 11.7 miles per hour.

The calmer time of year lasts for 6.1 months, from March 15 to September 20. The calmest day of the year is July 14, with an average hourly wind speed of 5.5 miles per hour.

Average Wind Speed

Average Wind Speed in IlulissatwindywindyJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0 mph2 mph4 mph6 mph8 mph10 mph12 mph14 mph16 mph18 mph20 mphNov 2911.7 mphNov 2911.7 mphJul 145.5 mphJul 145.5 mphSep 208.6 mphSep 208.6 mphMar 158.6 mphMar 158.6 mph
The average of mean hourly wind speeds (dark gray line), with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands.

The predominant average hourly wind direction in Ilulissat varies throughout the year.

The wind is most often from the south for 5.0 months, from March 19 to August 18, with a peak percentage of 43% on July 29. The wind is most often from the east for 7.0 months, from August 18 to March 19, with a peak percentage of 47% on January 1.

Wind Direction

Wind Direction in IlulissatESEJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%100%20%80%40%60%60%40%80%20%100%0%southeastnorthwest
The percentage of hours in which the mean wind direction is from each of the four cardinal wind directions (north, east, south, and west), excluding hours in which the mean wind speed is less than 1 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

Ilulissat 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 water temperature experiences some seasonal variation over the course of the year.

The time of year with warmer water lasts for 2.8 months, from July 3 to September 27, with an average temperature above 37°F. The day of the year with the warmest water is August 23, with an average temperature of 39°F.

The time of year with cooler water lasts for 5.0 months, from December 12 to May 10, with an average temperature below 32°F. The day of the year with the coolest water is March 9, with an average temperature of 30°F.

Average Water Temperature

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

Best Time of Year to Visit

To characterize how pleasant the weather is in Ilulissat throughout the year, we compute two travel scores.

The tourism score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 65°F and 80°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Ilulissat for general outdoor tourist activities is for the entire month of July, with a peak score in the third week of July.

Tourism Score

Tourism Score in IlulissatJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec02468101.11.10.00.0precipitationprecipitationcloudscloudstemperaturetemperaturetourism score
The tourism score (filled area), and its constituents: the temperature score (red line), the cloud cover score (blue line), and the precipitation score (green line).

The beach/pool score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 75°F and 90°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Ilulissat for hot-weather activities is from early to mid July.

Beach/Pool Score

Beach/Pool Score in IlulissatJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec02468100.00.00.00.0precipitationprecipitationcloudsclouds
The beach/pool score (filled area), and its constituents: the temperature score (red line), the cloud cover score (blue line), and the precipitation score (green line).

Methodology

For each hour between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM of each day in the analysis period (1980 to 2016), independent scores are computed for perceived temperature, cloud cover, and total precipitation. Those scores are combined into a single hourly composite score, which is then aggregated into days, averaged over all the years in the analysis period, and smoothed.

Our cloud cover score is 10 for fully clear skies, falling linearly to 9 for mostly clear skies, and to 1 for fully overcast skies.

Our precipitation score, which is based on the three-hour precipitation centered on the hour in question, is 10 for no precipitation, falling linearly to 9 for trace precipitation, and to 0 for 0.04 inches of precipitation or more.

Our tourism temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 50°F, rising linearly to 9 for 65°F, to 10 for 75°F, falling linearly to 9 for 80°F, and to 1 for 90°F or hotter.

Our beach/pool temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 65°F, rising linearly to 9 for 75°F, to 10 for 82°F, falling linearly to 9 for 90°F, and to 1 for 100°F or hotter.

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 Ilulissat typically lasts for 3.0 months (92 days), from around June 8 to around September 8, rarely starting before May 19 or after July 2, and rarely ending before August 18 or after September 26.

Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season

Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season in IlulissatJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%100%10%90%20%80%30%70%40%60%50%50%60%40%70%30%80%20%90%10%100%0%Jun 850%Jun 850%Sep 850%Sep 850%Jul 290%Jul 290%Aug 1890%Aug 1890%May 1910%May 1910%Sep 2610%Sep 2610%0%Mar 30%Mar 3very coldcoldfrigidfreezingcool
The percentage of time spent in various temperature bands: 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 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.

Growing Degree Days

Growing Degree Days in IlulissatJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0°F10°F20°F30°F40°F50°F60°F70°F80°F90°FDec 3146°FDec 3146°F
The average growing degree days accumulated over the course of the year, 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 experiences extreme seasonal variation over the course of the year.

The brighter period of the year lasts for 2.5 months, from May 12 to July 26, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter above 5.2 kWh. The brightest day of the year is June 25, with an average of 6.5 kWh.

The darker period of the year lasts for 5.2 months, from October 2 to March 9, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter below 1.3 kWh. The darkest day of the year is December 14, with an average of 0.0 kWh.

Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy

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 Ilulissat are 69.217 deg latitude, -51.100 deg longitude, and 0 ft elevation.

The topography within 2 miles of Ilulissat contains only modest variations in elevation, with a maximum elevation change of 394 feet and an average elevation above sea level of 101 feet. Within 10 miles contains only modest variations in elevation (1,654 feet). Within 50 miles contains very significant variations in elevation (4,396 feet).

The area within 2 miles of Ilulissat is covered by water (28%), sparse vegetation (25%), trees (17%), and snow and glaciers (16%), within 10 miles by water (50%) and snow and glaciers (21%), and within 50 miles by water (41%) and snow and glaciers (32%).

Data Sources

This report illustrates the typical weather in Ilulissat, 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, Egedesminde, in our network suitable to be used as a proxy for the historical temperature and dew point records of Ilulissat.

At a distance of 91 kilometers from Ilulissat, 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 Ilulissat 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.