And thanks to the semi-permanent weather feature known as the “Iceland Low,” mostly sunny days during summer are rare.
But when NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over the island at midday on July 21, 2010, it was possible to see from space just how changed the country has become since the depth of winter.
Several glaciers are still evident in the image, but many other areas show the tell-tale hues of green that reveal summertime plant growth.
Absent in the south of the island is the billowing cloud of volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajokull, which disrupted air travel for weeks across the North Atlantic and parts of Europe during May.
But on Wednesday, July 21, the sun was shining across the Republic of Iceland, undoubtedly encouraging some residents of the northern city of Akureyri to tee off at the world’s northernmost 18-hole golf course, located just to the southwest of the city.
Temperatures on the green reached a balmy 67 degrees Fahrenheit with calm winds that afteroon, while Reykjavik only warmed to 59 degrees.
Image: NASA MODIS Rapid Response System