Welcome, and happy Monday. For any new readers and followers, I have to warn you: I am a geek. I like math, physics, and especially weather and seasonal data.
It is a good day because we are almost at the end of February. This means that here in Edmonton day length is returning at a rate of 4 minutes and 12 seconds a day. As I write this at 7:04 in the morning, day is already breaking outside–a huge improvement from close to 9:00 a.m. in the early days of January. Now all we have to do is get rid of this cold. (At 7:00 a.m., it was -16°C/+3.2°F, with a wind chill of -23°C/-9.4°F.)
The coming months will become busier for me as I try to make up for the dead zone of the midwinter months, especially with anything related to errands, events, and travel.
Here is the comparison data for Edmonton, Alberta
Anyone living south of 53.5444°N latitude may find these day length differences interesting.
Feb. 27 — 7:25 a.m. / 6:08 p.m.
Mar. 20 — 6:35 a.m. (DST 7:35) / 6:48 p.m. (DST 7:48) — vernal equinox
We spring forward by one hour on March 12 this year. In comparing day length, I used the sunrise/sunset times we would have had if the clocks weren’t adjusted for Daylight Saving Time (DST).
Dec. 21, 2016 — 8:48 a.m. / 4:15 p.m. — winter solstice
On Feb. 27, Edmonton gained 1:23 of light in the morning and 1:53 at the end of the day–3 1/4 hours overall and nearly 2 hours in the evening alone since winter solstice.
In just three weeks, we will gain another 50 minutes of light in the morning and 40 minutes at the end of the day for a total of one and a half hours more daylight. However, with DST, the morning sunrise will stay virtually the same as it is today at 7:35 a.m. (although we will notice the darkness on March 12, since sunrise will be earlier by then, and will have to move ahead from just before 7:00 to just before 8:00–a significant difference when you’re trying to wake up and stay alert in the morning), but sunset will shift to 7:48 p.m.
It will stay light until after 8:00 in the evening and it will only be March!
Nearly 5 hours of light added from December to March
By Mar. 20, spring equinox, we will gain 4 hours and 46 minutes–nearly 5 hours of daylight–since winter solstice.
Now, the beautiful thing: with Daylight Saving Time factored in, sunset from Dec. 21 to Mar. 20 will shift from 4:15 to 7:48 pm, giving us 3 hours and 33 minutes extra minutes of light in the afternoon and evening.
By June, we will be looking at sun from 5:04 a.m. to 10:06 p.m. (17 hours and 2 minutes). It will be light out until almost 11:00 pm. This is why DST is a good thing for Edmonton! The long summer evenings are one of the few things that make it worth living here, given the long winters and cold climate. I have spent many a night in the garden until 11:00 until I could no longer see.
Day length including twilight runs roughly 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. under Daylight Saving Time. Standard Time (for us, that’s Mountain Standard Time, MST) would give us light from 3 a.m. to 10 p.m. We don’t need light at 3 a.m., but clearly, light late into the evening is an asset, unless you’re trying to get young kids to sleep. But morning daylight is equally problematic. We had to use thick curtains in the kids’ bedrooms when they were small.
To view current data
Sunrise, sunset, and moon times for today, including sun position and angle, twilight times, and visible planets, can be viewed here on timeanddate.com. You can input your own location for data in your area.
Solstice and equinox
- June solstice (longest day in the northern hemisphere)
- December solstice (shortest day in the northern hemisphere)
Happy meteorological spring on March 1. What is the difference between meteorological spring and astronomical spring?
“The spring season associated with the vernal equinox, called astronomical spring, happens on or around March 21 in the Northern Hemisphere, but meteorologists recognize March 1 as the first day of meteorological spring, which is based on annual temperature cycles and the Gregorian calendar.” ~Bianca Barr Tunno, AccuWeather staff writer
- daylight data: timeanddate.com
- weather and temperature data: Weather Office smart phone app