Winter Solstice

December 21st, 2013 at 1:48 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

winter <–click to enlarge – (graphic from UCAR and the Univ. of Michigan). Today (Sat.) at 12:13 pm we have the Winter Solstice. So, today is the shortest day of the year (least amount of available daylight) in the Northern Hemisphere and the longest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere. The word “Solstice” is Latin for “sun stands still”. Today the sun is directly overhead at solar noon at a latitude of 23 degrees and 26 minutes south latitude, a line called the Tropic of Capricorn. In Grand Rapids we have nine hours of daylight today (sunrise 8:11 AM, sunset 5:11 PM). There is less daylight the farther north you go. At Sault Ste. Marie (sunrise 8:18 AM, sunset 4:35 PM – note the difference is mainly in the sunset time), they get 8 hours and 17 minutes of available sunlight. North of the Arctic Circle, the sun stays below the horizon all day long. At Barrow, Alaska the top tip of the sun won’t climb above the horizon until Jan. 22 and at the North Pole not until the Spring Equinox in March. The gain in sunlight is slow at first. In the next month we gain only 34 minutes of daylight (4 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening), with a more rapid increase in daylight around the Spring Equinox. Temperature lags the position of the sun by around one month, so the coldest temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere on average occur around January 21. Happy Winter to all!

Also:  First accumulating snow in Seattle in 2 years.

7 Responses to “Winter Solstice”

  1. Jack says:

    HAPPY Winter….Indeed….. Stay cued… ;-)

  2. Vincent(N.E.Kent CO) says:

    So what you are saying is, we will not have a lot of sun today to help melt the ice? Welcome to winter is right.

  3. Tom says:

    This is with out a doubt the worst winter I have seen in a good many years. There is no question that we have all been spoiled by the mild winters of late, but with non stop shoveling, and now the constant ice chopping, it is taking its toll on my shoulders, back and legs. I am close to retirement and would like to be able to enjoy it, not be laid up from this crappy winter weather. Merry Christmas.

  4. Pat says:

    I am retired. Thankfully. I have. DeVries snow plowing my driveway. I still have to shovel about 2-3 ft in front of the garage. I also have to shovel the handicap ramp. My husband uses. I am getting my exercise out

  5. Travis (Oakland County) says:

    Perfect. The days will be getting longer now.

  6. Richard Ballema says:

    Bill, could you explain why the big difference between sunrise and sunset times? (4 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening for the next month)

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