Here in Minnesota winter type weather began months ago. Meteorological winter began on December first. Now, at 11:11 am on Saturday the 21st, we will make it official, "Winter Begins". With the exception of seeing a later sunset and earlier sunrise, we here in Minnesota won't notice much of a change at first. Be assured, subtle changes are taking place and those little changes will eventually add up to big changes in just a few months.
The arrival time and date of winter may seem so particular, but there is a scientific reason to it all. As we orbit the sun, the tilt of our planet results in four seasons. The northern hemisphere is pointing away from the sun, however, as we pass December 21, the northern hemisphere will start seeing more and more sunlight, and therefore, start seeing longer days and warmer temps.
The increase in daylight hours is a mathematical certainty. The increase in temperature is based more in theory. There is a huge pocket of air sitting in a very dark arctic. This air is getting colder and colder, losing all its heat to space with no direct sunlight to create new heat.
Eventually that line of sunlight will make its way down the globe and start to reheat that cold air pocket. Until then, get ready for a few more months of potential cold.
As the tilt of the earth makes it ways around the sun past December 21, we will start to see more and more of the northern hemisphere exposed to sunlight, and that means longer daylight hours for us. The graph bellow shows just how fast that increase in daylight happens, until it go back the other way come June 21.
Here in the Upper Midwest its more like a mental milestone. We know the daylight hours will increase. However, that pocket of cold air will take time to warm up, and as a result, we will experience winter type weather for many months to come.
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