Summer *officially* starts this weekJune 17th, 2012 at 12:04 pm by David Mazza under Weather
Hard to believe, but summer hasn’t officially started yet. Yea, we have already hit 100, and we have hit 90 so many times it seems pointless to go back and count them The Summer Solstice officially starts Wednesday evening at 6:09pm our time. This is the point when the sun is the farthest north point in the sky. If you are sick of the really long days, well there is some good news. The days will start to get shorter in the weeks following the start of the Summer Solstice. By shorter, I am talking about the amount of sunlight, we will still have 24 hours in each day, just the sunrises will be later and the sunsets will be earlier. If you are ready for some temperature relief, well the start of summer normally means hotter weather is to come. Typically temps will continue to increase, and will stay hot into the first few weeks of September, and then temps start to relax. This might seem odd since the Earth’s tilting causes the sun to start moving southward on Thursday, but you have to consider the physics at work. The Earth’s atmosphere, ground, and waters all have properties to retain heat and energy. The rates at which each absorbs and releases energy are different. So during the summer the Sun is still quite strong, and the ground and water are quite warm. They continue to absorb the Sun’s energy, and are also releasing collected energy. The net effect for a couple of months is even warmer temperatures. By the middle of September the Sun is almost directly overhead of the Equator, and far enough away that the absorption of energy is a lot less. Think about the hottest time of the day this time of year, about 3pm-5pm? Well, the sun gives off its strongest energy between 12p-2pm, but is still quite strong through the later part of the afternoon. The sun is still giving us strong energy, and the ground is also giving off energy, working together to make max temps. Typically the coolest time of the day this time of the year is around sunrise, when we have had the maximum amount of time without collecting the Sun’s energy.
Our Earth takes a roughly 365.24 day trip around the Sun on its orbit. What a lot of people probably don’t realize, is that when we have our summer here in Texas, the Earth is actually at its farthest point away from the sun. That’s right, the first day of summer for us, the Earth is the farthest away from the Sun, and the first day of Winter, we are the closest. On Wednesday we will be approximately 94.5 million miles from the Sun. On the first day of Winter we will be approximately 91.4 million miles, or about 3.1 million miles closer to the Sun. The Earth follows an oval shaped orbit, so the Southern Hemisphere starts its Summer when the Earth is closest to the sun. It is the tilt of the Earth on that orbit that produces the seasons. If you were assuming that the Southern Hemisphere has a always has a warmer Summer because it is closer to the Sun…. not so much. Because North has more land and the South has more water, and the rates that land and water heat and cool are far different, the temperatures in each are different as well. Its not to say that you can’t have scorching heat, or air so cold it burns in the Southern or Northern Hemisphere.