Today’s the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night.
The Carter Observatory says:
The Winter Solstice is on June 21 at 18:46 (6:46pm); this is when the Sun is at its most Northerly point in the sky. At the middle of the day on June 21, it reaches its lowest altitude, from the Northern horizon, for the year.
Brian Carter, Senior Astronomer at the Carter Observatory says, “This means that the longest night is June 21/22 and the shortest day is June 21”.
Jamie McKay discussed this on the Farming Show with Met Service weather ambassador Bob McDavitt on Friday.
He said that in there will be 9 hours 31 minutes of daylight in Auckland and in Dunedin just 8 hours 26 minutes.
The solstice doesn’t mean the coldest weather is over. Just as the warmest weather is usually in January and February after the summer solstice, the coldest days of winter are usually in July, after the winter one.
Memories from school geography tell me the lag in warming and cooling has something to do with being an island nation.
Water heats up and slows down more slowly than land so being surrounded by sea has a tempering affect on temperatures.
But that’s a very rusty memory and affirmations or corrections are welcomed.
We were at the Royal Highland Show in Scotland on June 21 in 1982 when the temperature wasn’t much warmer than we’d have expected in New Zealand.
Four years ago we were in Vejer de la Frontera, Spain, in June. Temperatures were much higher and children celebrated the summer solstice by making Juans and Juanas, which were paraded round the town then, like guys, burnt on a giant fire.