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  #1  
Old 12-19-2005, 03:51 PM
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Winter Solstice Question

In the Northern Hemisphere, since the Winter Solstice, Dec 22nd, is the shortest day of the year, why is January the coldest month? Since the days get longer and there's more sunlight, shouldn't it be getting warmer?
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Old 12-19-2005, 04:19 PM
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I'd love to dig out my 7th grade science for you... but the answers a definitive no

I JUST gotta say that we get more light, but its light "lite"

~Nate
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Old 12-19-2005, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuan
In the Northern Hemisphere, since the Winter Solstice, Dec 22nd, is the shortest day of the year, why is January the coldest month? Since the days get longer and there's more sunlight, shouldn't it be getting warmer?
http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/ast99/ast99578.htm
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Old 12-19-2005, 04:49 PM
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The earth is a large thermal flywheel. It has cooled for several months, and even with increasing sunlight, it takes time to warm it back up. Likewise, August is the hottest month, even though the longect day is June 21, or thereabouts.
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Old 12-19-2005, 04:55 PM
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My great-grandfather always said, "As the days get longer the cold gets stronger."
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Old 12-19-2005, 05:31 PM
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The Winter Solstice is also the first day of winter, but just in this hemisphere.
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Old 12-19-2005, 05:48 PM
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And, in the northern hemisphere winter, Earth is closer to the sun too.
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Old 12-19-2005, 06:59 PM
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MS Fowler got it roughly right. Think of it this way. Winter solstice is the day the northern hemisphere receives the least amount of energy from the sun (because of the earth's tilt, not distance from the sun). It has already been cooling for quite some time because of the ever decreasing solar energy. It continues to cool after the winter solstice even though the solar energy is starting to increase again because the energy is still very low. It's usually not great enough to reverse the cooling trend until about February. Hope this makes sense.
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Old 12-19-2005, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS Fowler
The earth is a large thermal flywheel. It has cooled for several months, and even with increasing sunlight, it takes time to warm it back up. Likewise, August is the hottest month, even though the longect day is June 21, or thereabouts.
Although August seems hotter (maybe more humid, or just at the end of the long humid DC summer) July is hotter, if just by a little bit, in our neck of the woods.
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Old 12-19-2005, 07:23 PM
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How about this explanation: Food still cooks a little more after its taken off the heat.
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Old 12-19-2005, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuan
In the Northern Hemisphere, since the Winter Solstice, Dec 22nd, is the shortest day of the year, why is January the coldest month? Since the days get longer and there's more sunlight, shouldn't it be getting warmer?
That's pretty much how it is here (shortest day -- coldest day / longest day -- hottest day). Move to the desert and the world makes more sense.
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Old 12-19-2005, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS Fowler
The earth is a large thermal flywheel. It has cooled for several months, and even with increasing sunlight, it takes time to warm it back up. Likewise, August is the hottest month, even though the longect day is June 21, or thereabouts.
/

Kinda like a mini ice age? We get past a point of no return and plunge into a deep freeze. It takes significant amount of heat to cycle back to summer?

Makes sense.
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Old 12-19-2005, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GermanStar
That's pretty much how it is here (shortest day -- coldest day / longest day -- hottest day). Move to the desert and the world makes more sense.
Not for me Ron. Too damn hot down there. When I retire I'm going to spend April to October in Alaska and come back to North Dakota for the winter. I want be a true snow bird.
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Old 12-19-2005, 09:41 PM
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Yeah, folks around here pretty much think I'm nuts -- I love the summers here -- the hotter the better!
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Old 12-19-2005, 10:08 PM
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Winter is great for doing outdoors stuff. All the bears are hibernating.
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