Why does the Winter Solstice sometimes occur weeks before the "official" date of 12/21st?

started by KittyKat, April 8, 2017
5 replies to this discussion
  • Member

    I noticed in a past few winters, the “shortest” day would occur much earlier in December, so the days would start getting “longer” even before winter officially begins..

    It really throws me off.  🙁

    I’m ready for the dark days till past Christmas, but sometimes they don’t last as long as usual.  And then I notice the sunset time will stay the same for days, while the sunrise time adds a minute each morning.

    This may not be a “weather” question “per se”, but the sunrise/sunset times ARE shown on TWC….Plus sunrise/sunset times DO impact the weather.

     

  • Expert Member

    It has to do with the fact that a year isn’t exactly 365 days and the tilt, wobbles and path of the Earth.  It is never weeks in difference, just a few days…20, 21, 22, 23.  -Stephanie Abrams

    • Member

      Okay, I didn’t know a year isn’t exactly 365 days a year, in spite of the various tilts, paths, etc. of the earth, LOL!  Shows what I know…..

      Thank you, as I figured it must have something to do with that.

      You’re one of my favorite meteorologists on TWC BTW.  🙂

       

    • Member

      @stephanieabrams, in addition, the axial precession changes very slowly (i.e., makes a complete circle every twenty-six thousand years).  #tooslow :-/  Moreover, we have to deal with a leap day (i.e., February 29) every four years.  #yearextension 😉

  • Member

    Thanks Stephanie! I was wondering the same thing on summer solstice since this year it was on June 20th instead of the 21st! BTW, my birthday is the 19th! This year it just happened to be one day before the official start of summer.

  • Member

    I’ve started a similar thread on the day of the summer solstice we don’t have the earliest sunrise and latest sunset whether it’s the northern or southern hemisphere. The same applies on the day of the winter solstice when we don’t have the latest sunrise and earliest sunset.

    The earth rotates in an elliptical path around the sun and it’s no exactly 365 days.

     

    The earth is closest to the sun on or around January    3 where we are 91.5 million miles from the sun. Around July 5 we are the furthest 94.5 million. This may be the very reason the earliest sunrise and latest sunset is not on the first day of summer, and the latest sunrise and earliest sunset is not on the first day of winter. 

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