Weather: Greenland

Most of this semi-independent Danish province is slathered by the Northern Hemisphere's largest sheet of ice, rising more than 3300m/10,000ft high at its centre. By and large, tourists wisely stick to Greenland's coasts, where summers are chilly but bright. During the peak June-to-August travel season, average highs remain above 6°C/40°F along the entire west coast, although readings may vary sharply from one harbour or airport to another, in accordance with topography and other local effects. The icy east coast is cooler, especially north of Ammassalik. South of the Arctic circle, a typical mid-summer afternoon hovers around 10°C/50°F in Nuuk, but day-to-day shifts can be dramatic: in July Nuuk has seen freezes as well as 24°C/75°F warmth. Summer readings above 16°C/60°F are not uncommon across the green pastures of the far south. Rains pass across southern Greenland every two or three days on average, usually becoming lighter as you move north. In the winter, coastal visitors can expect lots of dark, cold and snow, although an occasional pulse of warm air may send temperatures just above freezing along parts of the southern coast. Only a few researchers experience the heart of Greenland, where summer temperatures struggle to approach the freezing mark and winter readings can vacillate from –20°C/–4°F to –60°C/–76°F. Clear days tend to be the coldest here, while warm-ups are often laced with clouds and snow-blowing wind. Although it's invariably light, the interior's snowfall does add up: ice cores drawn from central Greenland reveal aspects of climate from over 100,000 years ago.