Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wither Weather

Guess what happens when you move from a place that's not terribly far from the equator to a place that's darn far from the equator?

That's right, the amount of daylight you get shifts much more dramatically as the seasons pass. Winters get quite short days compared to oh, let's say Florida, and summer actually gets longer days. All because of that nutty axis the Earth tilts on.

Here's a couple of wonky charts to prove it. First, here's Winter Park Florida:

And here's Victoria's sun chart:

A perfect opportunity to illustrate this is coming up soon. The summer solstice will be upon us in just over a month's time, the longest day of the year. While our friends in the Orlando area can expect the sun to rise about about 6:30am (local time) and set at roughly 8:30pm -- 14 hours of daylight -- here in Victoria on that day will rise at 5am (local time) and set around 9:30pm. If you include the middling times of "dusk" and "dawn" as part of our daylight hours, we will have a stunning 17.5 hour day.

Conversely, in December Orlando's dawn is around the same time as it is in the summer -- about 6:50am -- but dusk is around 5:30pm, so merely 2.5 hours less daylight than in the summer. We, on the other hand, will get a whopping six hours less daytime than we do in the summer.

Worse, even though Orlando also gets less sunlight at the winter solstice, you can at least be reasonably sure you will get some sunlight. Winter in Victoria is almost uniformly grey and rainy, so our "sunlight" may barely register as a blip. It will be interesting to see how this affects our sleeping and general mood next year. Of course, we went through most of winter up here this year, but we were fresh arrivals just in from a fun road trip and with lots of things to do. Next year we'll be more "settled."

This is not the first time I've lived "up north," but it is the first time in about 30 years or so, and thus the gradual turning of winter into spring that we're now experiencing (along with the longer days -- dawn is breaking as I write this at 5am, and night will only arrive again around 9:30 this evening) is refreshing and invigorating again.

One amusing consequence of our geographic tilt: on July 1st (Canada Day), the fireworks will be going off as soon as its fully dark, thus it is scheduled for 11pm!