I got this inspirational idea from a friend. How about projecting the area where I live in perspective on the US map, somewhere in the same coastal area. To avoid distortions I used google maps on exactly the same lattitude and zoom level, then fiddled a bit with opacity and color. The cut-off is entirely arbitrary. Sorry if I erased your city. Here’s the result.

Combined map

This tells us Paris-France is kinda like Vancouver-Canada, Oslo-Norway is like Anchorage-AK and Iceland is like Fairbank-AK. Things like day length are of course exactly the same, as the maps are on the same lattitude and scale. But there is a big difference. Europe is infuenced by the Gulf-stream, bringing relatively warm seawater from the Gulf of Mexico through a North-Eastern path to the European area. The North-Western part of America does not have this influence. So here are a few maximum/minimum figures.

Paris or Le Havre versus Vancouver

Note that Paris (24C/6C, 75F/43F) is a bit more inwards than Vancouver (17C/2C, 63F/36F), but other than that quite comparable. As you can see, Vancouver is colder. If we move from Paris to Le Havre, which is on roughly the same latitude but at the coast, it drops to (23C/3C, 73F/37F).

Oslo versus Anchorage

Oslo (16C/-7C, 61F/19F) and Anchorage (14C/-9C, 57F/16F) are very comparable. Both are near the sea but in a sheltered area. As you can see, again Anchorage is a tad colder.
Iceland or Hammerfest versus Fairbanks

This is not a fair comparision. Rekjavik, Iceland) (11C/-2C, 52F/28C) is surrounded by relatively warm seawater and is sitting on a very active geothermical spot. Fairbanks (17C/-23C, 63F/-9F) is surrounded by and endless landmass, that is frozen most of the time. And it shows!! If we exchange Rekjavik for Hammerfest in the top of Norway, we get (16C/-18C, 61F/0F). That’s more like it! Interestingly, Hammerfest is close to the sea.


What is striking is how small (and thus crowded) the West-European area is. Compared to the US you are looking at more people and at a comparable sized economy.