I saw the photograph of Iceland that you showed on the WGN-TV 9 p.m. news March 26. Why was there no ice and snow in Iceland?
Jamie Smith (age 10), Chicago
There is a saying that “Greenland is ice and Iceland is green,” and it’s true. Despite its location near the Arctic Circle, Iceland is surrounded by the relatively mild water of the North Atlantic, and it has a surprisingly mild climate.
After crossing the ocean, air that arrives in Iceland is cold enough to produce permanent ice and snow only at the highest elevations. Ice and snow cover only 11 percent of Iceland’s 39,800 square miles. Reykjavik, the capital, is on the coast.
Its annual snowfall is 11 inches, compared with Chicago’s 38 inches; its average January temperature is 31 degrees (24 here).