Soak up the sunshine, Canada: Big gains in daylight ahead

As sunlight rapidly increases, is March the most beneficial month for you?

Aside from the cold of winter, the lack of daylight is the biggest complaint toward Canadian winters. March can bring trip-canceling snowstorms or enough warmth to make you glad you didn’t escape to tropical sunshine.

The two weeks which straddle the spring equinox see the greatest change in daylight and solar strength for the entire year.

But the influence isn’t felt uniformly across the country.

Earth orbit around sun

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Over the 14-day window, Toronto gains 42 minutes of daylight—greatly overshadowed by the 54-minute increase in Calgary, and even more by the nearly hour-and-a-half observed in Yellowknife.

South of the border, Miami gains a mere 21 minutes.

Spring Daylight Increases

Toronto is roughly halfway between the latitude of Miami and Yellowknife. Yet the distance from Toronto to Miami has a 21 minute difference, while there’s more than an hour difference between Toronto and Yellowknife.

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This is all thanks to the exponential gain at higher latitudes due to the curvature of Earth.

The one factor which is uniform for all areas is the solar angle will increase by 5.5° over the two weeks. This is the reason for that enjoyable warmth in the car on sunny March days.

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Daylight Hour Changes By Latitude

The rate of change at higher latitudes is needed for the incredible range of daylight from the winter to summer solstice.

Jacksonville, Florida, is at 30°N and has less than a four-hour difference in daylight between the shortest and longest day. In contrast, Yukon’s Watson Lake at 60°N has to deal with a 13-hour difference in daylight.

The light is at the end of the winter tunnel and it’s approaching fast!

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Header image submitted by Solomon Hoasjoe.