WEATHER BLOG: Winter is here

By Josh Linker, Bay News 9 Meteorologist
Last Updated: Wednesday, December 21, 2016, 8:28 AM EST

At 5:44 this morning, the sun was directly over the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere.

This means that the sun is the farthest away from the Northern Hemisphere it will be all year.

Because of how the Earth is tilted on its axis at 23.5 degrees, we have fluctuations in daylight and ultimately our seasons. Since we are fairly far to the south here in Florida, our daylight doesn’t fluctuate as much as higher latitudes.

The amount of daylight today on the Winter Solstice here in Tampa is 10 hours and 22 minutes. Compare that to June 21, the Summer Solstice where we have 13 hours and 54 minutes of daylight.

In between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, the amount of daylight doesn't really fluctuate during the year. However, in the higher latitudes there are some pretty big swings in the amount of daylight from Winter to Summer. For example, in some parts of Scandanavia, the amount of daylight today is less than 3 hours, but in June the sun is out for more than 20 hours!

The reason we have seasons is because of the tilt of the Earth. The first day of Winter is not the coldest of the year because there is always a lag of time between the limits of sunshine and how cold it can get. That is why January and February are usually the coldest months.

Likewise, following the longest day of the year in June, July and August are usually the warmer months in the Northern Hemisphere.