I was asked this morning if it is summer now, around a bit of chat about the summer solstice. Not the longest day, a day is still 24 hours. We just have the most daylight hours in the northern hemisphere today. It is usually on June 21st but can be on the 20th or the 22nd. Meteorologists say summer starts on 1st June, as scientists like to fit data and statistics into easy to deal with boxes. S0, June, July and August are the summer months. Astronomical summer starts at the solstice.
If you were in the Arctic circle the sun would not set. In Shetland, it barely gets dark at this time of year. On Yell, the sun rose at 03:32 and the sunsets at 22:39. The Simmer Dim. London times are 04:42 and 21:21. Cue " Oh isn't it still light!"
Our earth takes a year to orbit the sun, and it is tilted on its axis. Today the most northern point available is facing the sun. At the winter solstice, in the northern hemisphere it is furthest away. This tilt gives us our seasons and the variation of daylight hours winter to summer.
Some planets nip round the sun more quickly, Mercury takes just under 88 days, others take more time, Jupiter over 11 years. They also tilt different amounts and rotate at different speeds, meaning longer/ shorter days. The Equilux is a time of equal day and night, in March and September. Close in timing to the Equinox, marking the point the sun crosses the equator's path and becomes positioned exactly above the equator. This is the start of astronomical autumn or spring, these are the four dividing points.
June 21st 2018 has brought a lot of sunshine over the UK, high pressure is building, there is barely any rain, and no-one is allowed to say “the nights are getting shorter” for at least 3 months. Let’s enjoy this summer first.
And it does look like the UK is going to see some proper summer weather. The schools in Scotland and Northern Ireland will break up for holidays at the end of June, so there will be lots of people hoping the dry, sunny and warm spell will last into July.
Also at this time of year, there are plenty of outdoor events, sporting competitions. Queen’s Club tennis is already on and Wimbledon will start early July, will the rain hold off?
The far north and NW of Scotland will see outbreaks of rain but overall it will be a dry week. High pressure sits right over the UK, with light winds, no weather fronts and a lot of sunshine. The heat begins to build through the weekend. Temperatures well into the twenties Celsius across the UK for the end of June, and with maybe some slight wobbling for the first weekend of July, this fine, settled, very warm and dry weather looks set to carry on into early July.
Yes, Summer is here.
Did you know that due to the earth not moving at a constant speed in its orbit around the sun our seasons are not all the same length? Earth does not move at a constant speed in its elliptical orbit. Therefore, the seasons are not of equal length, in the Northern Hemisphere, spring and summer last longer than autumn and winter. Bonus!
If sunshine and warmth are your thing, enjoy the next week or so. Remember your sunscreen, it’s all about UV levels