Explore historical and projected climate data, climate data by sector, impacts, key vulnerabilities and what adaptation measures are being taken. Explore the overview for a general context of how climate change is affecting Greenland.

Country Summary

This page presents high-level information for Greenland's climate zones and its seasonal cycle for mean temperature and precipitation for the latest climatology, 1991-2020. Climate zone classifications in the map below use observed, historical data (sourced from the Climate Research Unit [CRU]) and are derived by applying the Köppen-Geiger climate classification methodology. This classification divides climate into five primary climate groups, which are divided based on seasonal precipitation and temperature patterns. The five primary groups are A (tropical), B (dry), C (temperate), D (continental), and E (polar). All climates, except for those in the E group are assigned a seasonal precipitation sub-group (second letter). It is important to understand the different climate contexts that exist within a country as well as the surrounding region when analyzing current climates and projected change. Climate classifications are identified by hovering your mouse over the legend. A narrative overview of Greenland's country context and climate is provided following the visualizations.

Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification, 1991-2020
  • Af
  • Am
  • As/Aw
  • BWh
  • BWk
  • BSh
  • BSk
  • Csa
  • Csb
  • Csc
  • Cwa
  • Cwb
  • Cwc
  • Cfa
  • Cfb
  • Cfc
  • Dsa
  • Dsb
  • Dsc
  • Dsd
  • Dwa
  • Dwb
  • Dwc
  • Dwd
  • Dfa
  • Dfb
  • Dfc
  • Dfd
  • ET
  • EF

With an area of 2,166,086 km2, Greenland is the world's largest island. It extends over almost 24 latitudes. Greenland is covered by the Greenland ice sheet, a continuous, slightly convex ice sheet that covers 85% of the island and reaches heights of more than 3,000 m above sea level. Greenland’s coastal line stretches 44,087 km and is dominated by deep fiords and archipelagos. 

The population of Greenland is over 58,000 (2020) and lives mainly in the coastal regions, where there is little ice. Access to open waters implies good opportunities for fishery, hunting and transportation by sea, which are all important to Greenland society. The fishing industry is of immense importance to the economy of Greenland, as fish and seafood are the only large-scale export from Greenland. The climate in southwest Greenland is low-Arctic. Projections of future climate change using global and regional climate models towards the end of the century show general temperature increases of 5-7°C, which is significantly above the increase in mean global temperature (Seventh National Communication, 2017).