Put those winter blues on simmer: Daylight time increasing
Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 12:35 PM - Are you feeling "winter weary" and a trip to some tropical location just isn't in the cards? Well, let's try to put those winter blues on simmer by pointing out something you likely may have started to notice...the sun is now noticeably rising earlier and setting later. This is a GOOD thing.
The seasons are caused by the Earth's 23.5 degree tilt as it revolves around the sun. During the Northern Hemisphere's winter, the North Pole is tilted away from the sun, giving us our shortest days culminating on the Winter Solstice, on or around December 21.
Conversely, during the Northern Hemisphere's summer, the North Pole is tilted toward the sun, giving us longer days with the climax occurring on or around June 21st - the Summer Solstice.
This tilt also explains why if you go vacationing to the Caribbean you will notice the sunrise and sunset times never really change regardless if you go in January, February or March, or even June for that matter.
Close to the equator, sunrises and sunsets remain nearly constant year round, but head north in latitude, and this is where the magic really happens.
Take Toronto for example. From February 1 to February 28, the city gains about 75 minutes of daylight in that span (between 2.5 to 3 minutes per day). Not only is the sun staying up longer, but the sun's angle is increasing too, meaning that we are starting to get more direct rays from higher up.
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"Solar loading," which plainly speaking is the effect you feel from the increased warmth of the sun, becomes very noticeable in March whether from inside your car or sitting by a large window at a restaurant. It may not be patio weather yet, but the sun's presence is becoming impossible to deny.
Where things become especially interesting however, is the further north you venture. Toronto is located 43.6 degrees North. Well, how about Resolute, Nunavut located 74.7 degrees North and north of the Arctic Circle (66.5 degrees N).
As we march towards the Spring Equinox where day and night is 12 hours each (around March 21), these northern communities have to make up some ground big time, seeing as Resolute was still in full night mode (24 hour darkness) as recently as February 3.
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In those northern latitudes, the daily gains are truly something remarkable, where a full hour can be gained in less than a week. Again, this is the North Pole moving away from the sun's shadow and closer to its spotlight. Incidentally as of April 30, Resolute, Nunavut will be "night free" until August 14th.
So there you go. The days are getting longer, the groundhog has already prognosticated and there is more winter behind us than ahead of us. In the clear right?
Not exactly. For daily specifics check in with The Weather Network often as we know very well that in this country winter can, and often does, crash Spring's Welcome Home party!