Posted by: bkivey | 21 December 2011

Winter Solstice

At 2130 local time the Sun will reach its lowest point in the sky for the year and Winter will begin. Of course, from our frame of reference, the Sun set at about 1630, so at the official start of Winter, it will have been dark for a while.

Just for fun I put together some graphs displaying the weather and day cycle at various locations today. The first three locations, Portland, OR, St. Petersburg, FL, and Honolulu, HI, are places I live or have lived. I added two locations in Antarctica (Vostok and Scott-Amundsen) as well as the furthest North weather station I could find, at Resolute Bay, Canada, for contrast.









The y-axis is 24-hour time. Resolute Bay is in perpetual night this time of year,  whereas the folks in Antarctica are enjoying constant daylight.










Here we have the length of day between sunrise and sunset. In Portland, this is the Season of Gloom, where anyone working normal business hours goes to, and leaves, work in the dark. It’s not quite as bad as Seattle, where some days the streetlights don’t go out.









Break out the shorts and t-shirts in the Antarctic! Vostok Station  climbs to -13F today with a windchill of only -47F. Windchill for the day on 21 June was -150F, for a whopping 100F+ climb in apparent temperature. Hotspot Amundsen-Scott Station reaches a sweltering -2F on the day.

Finally, lets look at the difference in the length of day between the solstices for the US locations.









In the Portland area, the day is just about half as long in at the Winter solstice as it is during the Summer event. But we have reached the daylight nadir, and things will only improve from here.

Merry Christmas!


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