Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Jan Harris
Deputy Group Editor
12:00 AM 1st December 2023

TODAY Is The Start Of Winter!

Image by Antonio López from Pixabay
Image by Antonio López from Pixabay
Can you believe that it is the 1st December and according to the Met Office it is the start of winter.

The meteorological definition of the seasons means that the year is split into four seasons which coincide with the Gregorian calendar. Apparently this makes it easier for forecasting and monthly statistics.

Meteorological seasons

Spring (March, April, May)
Summer (June, July, August)
Autumn (September, October, November)
Winter (December, January, February)

Astronomical Winter

In 2023 the astronomical winter begins on Friday 22 December and is the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and ends on Wednesday 20 March 2024. The Winter Solstice is also known as the 'shortest day' of the year as there are fewer hours of sunlight. After the Winter Solstice the good news is that the days start to get longer until the Summer Solstice which is the longest day of the year.

The reason why we have seasons is related to astronomy and planetary science. The earth's axis is tilted as it orbits the sun and takes about 365 days. This means that one half of the earth is pointed away from the sun and the other is pointed towards it at the time of the solstice. Each orbit is an eclipse. In one year the earth travels about 584 million miles or 940 million km.

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash
Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash
Some interesting facts about Winter

Earth is closest to the sun in winter
The coldest temperature recorded in winter was -27.2 °C in the Scottish Highlands in 1995
The winter of 1963 was one of the coldest on record since 1740
The word 'Winter' comes from the Germanic wintar which is derived from wed meaning wet or water
The first Winter Olympics occurred in 1924 in the French Alps
You can see your breath when it’s below 45 degrees Fahrenheit
Trees and plants stop growing in the winter
Some animals hibernate in the winter to save energy

Photo by Marc Newberry on Unsplash
Photo by Marc Newberry on Unsplash
Some interesting facts about snow

Snowflakes come in all sizes
Snowflakes have 6 sides regardless of design
Wet snow is best for building snowmen
Snowflakes are not always unique
It can never be too cold for snow
It takes about 1 hour for a snowflake to reach the ground
Snow is not white it is translucent
Freshly fallen snow absorbs sound waves making everything appear quiet
Afraid of snow is called chionophobia from the Greek word 'chion'
Noise doesn't cause an avalanche, most probably weight does