April Warmer and Sunnier than Average in Iceland

Árbæjarsafn Reykjavík on April 20, 2023, the First Day of Summer

Last month was the seventh-warmest April on record in Reykjavík, according to the latest figures from the Icelandic Met Office. April weather was calm and warm across Iceland, though it cooled down in the last week of the month.

The average temperature in Reykjavík in April was 5.3°C [41.5°F], which is 1.6°C above the 1991-2020 average and 1.2°C above the average for the last ten years. The average temperature in Akureyri, North Iceland, was also 1.6°C above the 1991-2020 average, at 4.2°C [39.6°F]. That is one degree higher than the average for the last decade. In Stykkishólmur, West Iceland, the average temperature was 4.0°C [39.2°F] and in Höfn, Southeast Iceland, the average temperature was 4.4°C [39.9°F]. The April temperatures recorded at 12 weather stations across the country all averaged higher than the April average of the past decade.

Surprise spring snow in Reykjavík

Despite pleasantly warm temperatures, Reykjavík received 87 millimetres of precipitation in April: 50% more than the 1991-2020 average. Akureyri received only about 85% of its average precipitation compared to the same period, or 21.7 mm. Reykjavík residents were surprised by heavy snowfall on April 27, which measured 11 cm [4.3 in] – such heavy snowfall is indeed rarely seen in the region in the second half of April. In Akureyri, however, no such “white” days were recorded last month, a drop from the monthly average of five. Both Reykjavík and Akureyri had more sunshine last month than the monthly average.

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The highest average temperature for last month was 6.3°C [43.3°F], recorded on Surtsey island in the Westman Islands archipelago off South Iceland. Visits to the island are forbidden for all but the members of an annual research expedition, so it can’t be said that these balmy temperatures were enjoyed by any of Iceland’s human residents – though the island’s avian inhabitants hopefully profited.

“Good Spring Weather” Ahead Following Historically Cold March

According to long-term forecasts, this April could be one of the warmest on record. A meteorologist has told Vísir that warm air is expected over the country after the weekend, with “good spring weather” anticipated around the first day of summer.

A quick transition from the coldest March in 44 years

Temperatures have remained above average this month, marking a quick transition from the coldest March on record in 44 years. April could also become historic, albeit for happier reasons, according to meteorologist Einar Sveinbjörnsson who expects good spring weather next week.

“A predicted high-pressure area over the British Isles, along with milder air from the southeast, is expected to bring very mild weather in the coming week, potentially around the first day of summer,” Einar, who also forecasts the weather on the website Blika.is, told Vísir.

According to the Norwegian Meteorological Agency’s long-term forecast, temperatures could reach double digits next week. Einar preferred to remain grounded: “A temperature range between 5-9°C is considered good for the month of April – and if one can feel the warmth of the sun during this time,” Einar noted. He warned that if the trend of warm weather continues, April could be considered an extreme weather month, similar to April 2019, provided there are no sudden changes in the last week.

April 2019 was the warmest in many parts of the country since the beginning of measurements; the average temperature in Reykjavík was 6.5°C. Einar told Vísir that it was, however, too early to say whether this year’s First Day of Summer (Thursday, April 20) would also mark the actual start of summer.

“Cold spells with snow or rain can manifest themselves in this country throughout May and until June. But after this cold winter, it would be great to have a sunny and warm May to get rid of the ice from the ground and better prepare us for the arrival of summer,” Einar concluded by saying.