How to read the cloud forecast in Iceland
So you looked at the cloud forecast, decided where to go, you have arrived at the location and it looks like the forecast was wrong! There are clouds everywhere! This is a guide for guides, nerds and people that just really want to know what they are doing when chasing the aurora.
Preparing the Night: As a first move when planning the night you should use the websites auroraforecast.com , belgingur.is and windy.com . None of the forecast sites are ever completely right but if you cross compare all the maps and you find a spot that is supposed to be clear on all of the sites that is a spot you should aim for. The following pictures are all from the sites at 6 April.
Looking at the pictures we can see some spots that are open on all three forecasts and those are the ones that we should aim for, for example the Reykjanes Peninsula, where the airport is located. Now we know that sometimes the forecast just goes all wrong and as a guide that´s horrible, you stand there with in front of a crowd that you feel like you might dissapoint and look at all the people that are waiting for you to do a magic trick that will save the day. One magic trick is the Sat pictures you can access at auroraforecast.com
The white colour is clouds, black is clear sky and the other colour is rain. you can scroll through the movement of the clouds and see the openings. using that data you can see where the openings are moving to and drive there. Reading this map I would be pretty sure there is a clear sky at the Reykjanes Peninsula. That little trick has saved my ass many times and it should be shared so that most people can enjoy the Northern Lights!
Although I wrote this guide for people that I know are going to be wanting to find them themselves there are some things that can´t be taught like when in some places when the temperature is x, wind is x, cloud cover is x and air pressure is x then an opening forms over x mountain. That can only be learnt by experience, trial and error.
It´s also helpful to join us on a tour since we have a network of guides out there calling each other with information on clear skies and northern lights activity. If you want to join me and Emil on a Northern Lights hunt you can book the tour here on the website. May luck be with you on your travels and I hope that you can use this method to be more successful in you future hunts.