Polar Circle Marathon

24-25 Oct 2020 / 30-31 Oct 2021

Climate & Weather in Greenland

Below you can read about typical race day weather, Greenland's climate, and see the average weather conditions in Ilulissat and Kangerlussuaq.

Greenland's Climate

The entirety of Greenland is located in the polar climate zone. This means that, in general, it stays chilly all year-round and gets very cold in the winter, but there are large variations from region to region. In fact, the weather can even vary from one valley to the next! This is because there are a number of factors that affect the climate in Greenland, such as the surrounding coastline and the inland ice sheet. 

Packing for the Arctic Circle is all about layers. The inner layer of clothing should be focused on warming up your body, and the outer layers on wind and weather protection. With an arctic climate, rapid weather changes should be expected. A day can shift from clear sunshine to a snowstorm in the blink of an eye, and hence visitors need to come prepared.  

 

Temperature & Precipitation

See the average temperatures and precipitation per month below in the tables. 

  JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Kangerlussuaq                        
Day time temperature -16°C  / 3°F -18°C  / 0°F -13°C  / 9°F -4°C  / 25°F 6°C  / 43°F 13°C  / 55°F 15°C  / 59°F 13°C  / 55°F 7°C  / 45°F -3°C  / 27°F -8°C  / 18°F -10°C  / 14°F
Night time temperature -22°C  / -8°F -24°C  / -11°F -21°C  / -6°F -12°C  / 10°F -1°C  / 30°F 4°C  / 39°F 6°C  / 43°F 4°C  / 39°F 0°C  / 32°F -9°C  / 16°F -16°C  / 3°F -19°C  / -2°F
Precipitation (mm / in) 5 mm  / .2 in  3 mm  / .12 in  2 mm  / .08 in  8 mm  / .32 in  5 mm  / .2 in  12 mm  / .47 in  22 mm  / .87 in  28 mm  / 1.1 in  17 mm  / .67 in  12 mm  /  .47 in  11 mm  / .43 in  4 mm  / .16 in 

Source: DMI

  JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Ilulissat                        
Day time temperature -10°C  / 14°F -10°C  / 14°F -9°C  / 16°F -4°C  / 25°F 4°C  / 39°F 9°C  / 48°F 12°C  / 54°F 10°C  / 50°F 5°C  / 41°F -1°C  / 30°F -4°C  / 25°F -8°C  / 18°F
Night time temperature -17°C  / 1°F -18°C  / 0°F -17°C  / 1°F -13°C  / 9°F -3°C  / 27°F 3°C  / 37°F 5°C  / 41°F 4°C  / 39°F -1°C  / 30°F -7°C  / 19°F -11°C  / 12°F -15°C  / 5°F
Precipitation (mm) 10 mm  / .39 in  10 mm  / .39 in  13 mm  / .51 in  15 mm  / .59 in  18 mm  /  .71 in  19 mm  / .75 in  32 mm  /  1.26 in  32 mm  / 1.26 in  41 mm  / 1.61 in  32 mm  / 1.26 in  21 mm  / .83 in  17 mm  / .67 in 

Source: DMI

Expectations at Polar Circle Marathon

In October in Kangerlussuaq, winter is creeping in. In general, negative (celsius) temperatures should be expected. That said, in recent years the weather has tended toward slightly warmer temperatures. Thus, participants need to be prepared for everything from -20 to 10°C. While the temperature itself will likely not be excessively negative, wind chill can be intense and make it feel much colder than it the thermometer reads. 

Wind protection, gloves, a hat, and good quality base layers are all important components of preparation. Please read the descriptions under "Clothing" in Race Information