Iceland is an island in the stormiest region of the North Atlantic, between Norway and Greenland.
Two features control its weather and climate: it lies in the track most frequented by depressions throughout the year; it also lies in the path of the current of warm oceanic water called the Gulf Stream.
Consequently the weather is disturbed and changeable throughout the year but during the winter the temperatures at sea level are surprisingly mild for the latitude. The Arctic Circle just touches the north coast of the island.
Inland Iceland is mountainous, with several volcanic peaks rising above 1,500 m/5,000 ft. These higher areas are covered with snow throughout the year and there are extensive ice fields at higher levels.
Although very cold air from the Arctic occasionally affects the island in winter and spring, and drifting ice may block inlets on the north coast, the main port and capital, Reykjavik, is ice free throughout the year.
The summers are generally cool and cloudy with brief spells of fine, pleasant weather. Much of the winter precipitation is snow and autumn and winter are the wettest seasons.
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