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Climate - Jan Mayen

Temperature, rainfall, prevailing weather conditions, when to go

United States version (°F - inches - feet). See also the metric version (°C - mm - meters)

Flag - Norway

Jan Mayen, where it is
In the island of Jan Mayen, belonging to Norway and located in the ocean between Greenland, Iceland and Norway, the climate is sub-polar, wet and windy, with a long, freezing and snowy winter, and a cold summer.
The average temperature is below freezing from November to April, around freezing in May and October, and rises a few degrees above freezing in summer, between June and September.
Here are the average temperatures.
Jan Mayen average temperatures
Jan Mayen J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 18 16 16 21 28 32 37 37 34 28 23 18
Max (°F) 27 27 27 30 34 39 43 45 41 36 30 27

Snowfalls are frequent from October to May. The wind blows hard, especially from September to May, with real storms. June and July are the least windy months.
The volcano Beerenberg, 7,470 feet high, is covered with perennial snows already from an altitude of around 2,000 feet.
Precipitation amounts to about 26.5 inches per year, and is frequent and well distributed throughout the year; however, there's a relative maximun in autumn, and a relative minimum between April and July.
Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation Jan Mayen
Jan Mayen J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (in) 2.2 2.2 2.2 1.6 1.6 1.4 1.8 2.4 3.1 3.1 2.6 2.6 26.6
Days 13 11 11 9 8 8 9 11 13 15 13 13 134

Being above the Polar circle, Jan Mayen sees the midnight sun from late May to late July, and the white nights (when the sun the sun falls below the horizon, but it doesn't get completely dark) from early May to mid-August.
In winter, the sun never rises from November the 20th to January the 20th, although around noon, when the sun is near the horizon, there's a bit of light also at the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year, December the 21st).

Winter goes from November to April, and is characterized by low temperatures, a few degrees below freezing, frequent wind and snowfalls occurring almost daily, though usually not abundant. The average temperature in January and February, 21 °F, is not so far from that of the Norwegian capital, Oslo. In some periods, the temperature may rise slightly above freezing even in winter, and it can even rain. On other occasions it can drop to 5/15 °F, but it rarely drops below these values, due to the influence of the ocean, which does not freeze even in winter, because of the Gulf Stream. However, during the most intense arctic cold waves, the temperature can drop further, as happened in January 1979, when it reached -15 °F.

In the short spring and autumn, ie in May and October, the temperature fluctuates around freezing, and snowfalls are frequent.

Summer, from June to September, is cold, with average temperatures a few degrees above freezing. On warm days, highs can reach 50/54 °F. The sky is often cloudy and the wind blows frequently, though less than in the rest of the year. The rains are frequent, though usually not abundant; in June and July it rains on average 8/9 days per month, and 11 days in August. Sometimes it can snow even in the plains, especially in June and September, while on the slopes of Beerenberg it snows normally even in summer.
In September, although the temperatures are still above freezing, the wind begins to blow with a higher intensity and the days get shorter in an evident manner.

The amount of sunshine in Jan Mayen is very scarce, given that cloudy skies prevail throughout the year; however, in May and June there are five hours of sunshine per day, which become four in July and three August: it's not much, since the day in this period lasts 23/24 hours (which become 18 in August).

Beerenberg in Jan Mayen

The temperature of the sea is always very cold, but not freezing, being about 34 °F from January to April, and 45 in August.
Here are the average sea temperatures.
Sea temperature Jan Mayen
Jan Mayen J F M A M J J A S O N D
Sea (°F) 34 34 34 34 36 37 41 45 43 39 37 36

When to go

The best time to visit Jan Mayen is obviously the summer, especially from June to August, when the days are longer and the rains are less frequent. In June, the day lasts 24 hours, but the temperature is a bit lower.
However, you should bring warm clothes even in summer.

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