2081: Middle Latitudes

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KarenRei
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2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby KarenRei » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:38 pm UTC

Image

Alt-text: "Snowy blizzards are fun, but so are warm sunny beaches, so we split the difference by having lots of icy wet slush!"

https://xkcd.com/2081/

As someone who lives in Reykjavík, I'm not sure that he knows what high latitude winters are actually like. The short of it: yes, the times between the nominal sunrise and sunset are short, but that's the least meaningful portion. Much more meaningful is:

A) ...that the sun barely climbs over the horizon in the south, so almost anything blocks it; but
B) ...even when the sun is behind the horizon, including before and after "sunrise" / "sunset", it's so shallow that you have lots of "dim" - that is to say, lots of dawn and dusk.

There's much less of a loss of dawn and dusk vs. lower latitudes than there is loss of direct daylight. We get little to no "direct" sunlight around the winter solstice. Instead, our winter skies, when not clouded over (which is common), are usually a shade of salmon pink for much of the day.

By contrast, in the summer the sun rises in the north and sets in the north, after completing an arc around you. It takes such a shallow angle that when there's mountains to your north, you can experience multiple sunrises and sunsets per day. Sunrises and sunsets also take a very long time. Also, and it's kind of weird, but summer colours in high latitudes always feel more vivid to me than summer colours in low latitudes. I don't know why that would be; I think it might have to do with shallower sun angles creating more stark contrasts between light and shadow. But I don't really know.

The low sun angles and weather do encourage a lot of neat optical phenomena - noctilucent clouds, iridiscent clouds, complex rainbows and moonbows, sundogs, etc etc. Also, our cloud layers seem more thinly stratified - as if the lapse rate is more extreme here. I don't know if that's actually true or not. We certainly get tons of lenticular clouds in the summer due to our mountains. We also get plenty of graupel (think "tiny hail that accumulates like snow"), and in bad weather things like snow devils, and things that look like waterfalls made of snow in the mountains. Our winter storms are impressive. I've had a 6m shipping crate packed full of tonnes of steel, wood, glass, etc tossed around like a child's toy (wind gusts across the fjörd were measured at Cat 5 hurricane strength). What is rare here is lightning. So rare that it generally makes the news whenever it happens.
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Soupspoon
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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:44 pm UTC

Middle latitudes? Does that extend as far up as to where it is often officially dreich? (Right now it's a very wet and blustery dreich, as opposed to merely insidiously wet, where it isn't wet enough to dispel the midges, but it feels like it should have been.)

((Oh, and sunset is about now, it seems (a couple of minutes ago). Though you couldn't tell, because the overcast cloud layers are still sufficiently illuminating to make the unaware think that the sun's just heavily obscured behind them, like it has all 'day'.))

(((16 days 6.5 hours until the Sun starts to return. Though that'll be at night (and not even after the middle of the night), so we won't even see the benefit until the next morning.)))

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby DavidSh » Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:27 pm UTC

I think the characters are talking about places actually north of the arctic circle, such as Tromsø or Hammerfest, rather than Reykjavik. At Tromsø, the sun has been down for about a week already, and you get 5 hours of civil twilight in the middle of the day instead.

--- And then at Longyearbyen, civil twilight has been lost for three weeks now, and there is 4 hours of nautical twilight.

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby pogrmman » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:44 pm UTC

Coming from someone near the southern end of the “middle latitudes” (30°N), winter is beautiful! But even when I’ve spent the winter at 41°N, I’ve noticed that winter can be bleak and the days seem awfully short. So you don’t have to be all that north to get bleakness in the winter — certainly not above the Arctic Circle.

My bigger issue is that because I live in North America, my latitude gets wild, wild winter weather. We get quite a lot colder than pretty much anywhere else at a comparable latitude, and the wild temperature swings are crazy. A day with an 75°F high and a 25°F low isn’t all that atypical (that probably happens more often than it snows here). That all makes it really hard to grow lots of interesting plants — there’s plenty of really neat stuff that would thrive here if it weren’t for those handful of crazy cold days.

I’ve never actually experienced a snowy blizzard, so I have no idea if that’s actually fun or not...

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby Ranbot » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:47 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:Middle latitudes? Does that extend as far up as to where it is often officially dreich? (Right now it's a very wet and blustery dreich, as opposed to merely insidiously wet, where it isn't wet enough to dispel the midges, but it feels like it should have been.)

((Oh, and sunset is about now, it seems (a couple of minutes ago). Though you couldn't tell, because the overcast cloud layers are still sufficiently illuminating to make the unaware think that the sun's just heavily obscured behind them, like it has all 'day'.))

(((16 days 6.5 hours until the Sun starts to return. Though that'll be at night (and not even after the middle of the night), so we won't even see the benefit until the next morning.)))

I had to look up "dreich" because it's not used in the US. For others like me it means "dreary" :)

Your dreich, maritime climate and surrounding oceans do have the benefit of moderating temperatures a fair amount. UK winters are mild compared to continental regions of the North America and Asia at the generally the same latitude and elevation where temperatures average 10 to 20 degrees C lower than the UK. Continental areas make up for their bitter cold winters with some gloriously warm, commonly clear, and beautiful summers, the likes of which the UK rarely experiences. It's all relative...

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:58 pm UTC

First character wants intra-tropic evenness to the day plus periodical (ant)arctic extreme nocturnal delineation within either respective polar circle.

Second character suggests the 'answer' is to go to half way between the two and get neither desired effect.

Incidentally, half way between the ±23ish° tropic of a sphere and respective ±66ish° limit is exactly the respective ±45°, as a simple thought experiment would suggest is true for any sphere that is tilted no more than ±45° in its spin against the orbital plane. (Once it is ≥45°, it get weirder*!)

45°N is southern France, northern Mediterranean in general, (former) Yugoslavia, Ukraine, miles and miles of bloody Uberwald Russia, various -Stans and (China/Mongolia)n/China/Russia-again, a slice through northern Japan(/Russia), skip the Ocean to sort of do the Oregon Trail in reverse in the US, and over the messier bits of the US/Canada lakes area, then over the Pond to enjoy a nice Bordeaux.

The non-European parts of that line are much nicer than the comic gives credit for (Gulf Stream probably helps) but the rest seems to match stick-figure expectations.

(Scrolling down, to check the OP while composing, I see that it has been augmented beyond the level I first read it as. For the ne thing, it explains DavidSh's mention of Reykjavik, now. So most of what I wrote might not have been written if I originally understood why DavidSh wrote it. Still, I've broken out the atlas already, and pored over it, so I'll still post.)

(Also twice-ninjaed. And, ay, we have it good up here. Except when we don't. And 'merely' "dreary" doesn't really cut it.)


* - Make the planetary tilt 90° (sign really being irrelevant well before this point, if it ever was). At hemispherical mid-summer, no sunset your side of the equator; At hemispherical mid-winter, no sunrise; At each hemispherical equinox, all points of the planet get equal equal day and night (excluding horizon effects, like how tall you are, especially if you're tall/elevated enough and close enough to either pole to peer over it).

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby Ranbot » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:48 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:45°N is southern France, northern Mediterranean in general, (former) Yugoslavia, Ukraine, miles and miles of bloody Uberwald Russia, various -Stans and (China/Mongolia)n/China/Russia-again, a slice through northern Japan(/Russia), skip the Ocean to sort of do the Oregon Trail in reverse in the US, and over the messier bits of the US/Canada lakes area, then over the Pond to enjoy a nice Bordeaux.

I grew up northeastern US (inland) a few miles from 45°N. There are a few wineries there, but nothing like in Bordeaux; in fact their only tenuous wine-related claim to fame is for producing ice wines, for good reason. It's OK though, where the vintners lack the brewers there have made quite a name for themselves.
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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:57 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:Make the planetary tilt 90° (sign really being irrelevant well before this point, if it ever was). At hemispherical mid-summer, no sunset your side of the equator; At hemispherical mid-winter, no sunrise; At each hemispherical equinox, all points of the planet get equal equal day and night (excluding horizon effects, like how tall you are, especially if you're tall/elevated enough and close enough to either pole to peer over it).

Now picture if you will the Earth mounted on a physical axis through the poles, which is mounted inside a ring running longitudinally around the planet. Where that ring crosses the equator, it mounts via stubby little axes to another ring running longitudinally around the equator. These are for illustration only; we can remove the physical structure later and just consider the motion of the Earth itself.

The Earth is spinning along its axis at a rate of once per day, obviously. Consider the other rings to be at rest relative to the fixed stars. Consequently, the outer ring can also be considered to be rotating relative to the sun at a rate of once per year; that is, a dot painted on one side of the outer ring will be toward the sun one day and away from it half a year later, then back toward it half a year after that. The position of the inner ring is the Earth's axial tilt.

Now, starting on the southern summer solstice, rotate the inner ring (the axial tilt ring) so that the south pole points at the sun, and then give that ring a rotation rate of one revolution per year.

Six months later, the Earth's axial tilt will have flipped 180 degrees, and the south pole will no longer be facing the direction we started it, but rather in the opposite direction, relative to the fixed stars. However, the Earth will have moved half an orbit around the sun in the mean time, so the sun will now be in that opposite direction, and even though it's six months later, the south pole will be pointed at the sun yet again. In the mean time it will have pointed toward Polaris by the southern autumnal equinox, making the south pole the "north pole" for a day, before it turned to face the sun again. By the southern vernal equinox it will point away from Polaris, before pointing back at the sun again by the next southern summer solstice.

At the south pole on the day of the summer solstice, the sun will sit high in the sky all day, unmoving. As the days wear on, it will appear to wobble around its position in the center of the sky, slowly spiraling out in larger and larger circles over the next six months until by the autumnal equinox it is instead perpetual twilight with the sun circling the horizon all day. After that it will slowly spiral back toward its position high in the sky, stopping for another day-long high noon at the "winter" solstice, before repeating the pattern again, to perpetual twilight on the vernal equinox and back to unending noon at the next summer solstice. At the south pole, the sun will never, ever set.

The further away from the south pole you move, the lower in the sky the center of that spiraling-back-and-forth-pattern will sit. Anywhere on the equator, that point will be on the horizon, so at the solstices (no point distinguishing them now) the sun will sit motionless on the southern horizon all day, and as the year progresses it will move in bigger and bigger arcs across the sky in concentric rings further and further from that point, until the "equinox", at which point it will rise in the east, cross the center of the sky, and set in the west. But I put "equinox" in quotes because no matter the time of year, each of these arcs takes the same amount of time: half a day. Every single day at the equator, daytime and nighttime are the exact same length.

The further from the equator you go, the less true that is: the days become longer in the south and shorter in the north around the solstices, and then more equal again around the equinoxes, until at the south pole the days never end no matter the time of year, and at the north pole they never begin.

So, like a tidally locked planet, one side of this Earth will be the warm side and the other the cold side. But unlike a tidally locked planet, one side isn't thoroughly roasted by the sun that never sets, and the other frozen from the absence of all sunrise. Because in between those two sides, there are normal day and night cycles, and lots of habitable climes. Sure, you probably wouldn't want to live at either of the poles... but you don't want to do that now, either.

And if you want somewhere that has long periods of darkness but also normal days, just pick somewhere in the northern hemisphere. Around solstices the sun will be below the horizon for however long you'd like it to be, maybe just a day or three in the northern "tropics", or most of the year in the Arctic; and around equinoxes, the sun will rise as high in the sky as it can given your choice of long-night-length.
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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:53 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Now, starting on the southern summer solstice, rotate the inner ring (the axial tilt ring) so that the south pole points at the sun, and then give that ring a rotation rate of one revolution per year.

I got lost at this point, and lost all frame of reference (literally and figuratively) in what followed. Even backtracking from your subsequent conclusions. Are we doing this (fighting the gyroscopic inertia) or are you saying that it will do this (by tidal-locking, maybe) as an extreme form of precession?

I'm also assuming you're rotating the ring through the self-swept volume of the ring (effectively by the East-West 'pole' axis, but because I'm so lost I can't even be sure about this).

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:59 am UTC

I'm saying at that step you quote to imagine that we do that, make it happen on purpose (I hadn't considered gyroscopic effects, not sure if that throws a wrench in all of this). Everything after that is an exploration of what seasons on such a world look like, if you do that.

It might be more clear if I re-describe it in a way ignoring the Earth's normal rotation, and then we add that back in at the end.

So consider a version of Earth where Antarctica is always facing directly away from Polaris (because there's no axial tilt), and Quito, Ecuador, (picked because it's a convenient landmark on the equator) is always facing roughly toward the constellation Capricorn; and the planet circles the sun in its normal orbit while maintaining that orientation relative to the fixed stars. (Whether you want to call that rotating at a rate of one day per year or not rotating at all depends on your frame of reference). So the sun is high above Quito in January (because "the sun is in Capricorn" in January, i.e. Capricorn and the sun are in the same direction relative to Earth, the direction Quito is always facing), and it's dark in Quito all July.

In April, a quarter year after the sun is high above Quito, give the Earth a rotation along the line of longitude that runs through Quito, at a rate of one revolution per year, such that in another quarter year, Quito will be pointing away from Polaris, and Antarctica will be pointing away from Capricorn. Because it will then be July, "away from Capricorn" will mean the same thing as "toward the sun". By October, six months after we gave it this kick, the Earth will have turned on its head, and Antarctica will be pointing at Polaris. Then by January, Antarctica will be pointing toward Capricorn, which means that Antarctica will again be pointing at the sun, because that's "in Capricorn" in January. Back around to April and Antarctica is back where it started, but every July and January it ends up pointing at the sun over and over again.

Now take that slowly tumbling Earth, and add its normal daily rotation along its normal axis to it too. The south pole keeps tumbling from anti-Polaris to anti-Capricorn to Polaris to Capricorn and back to anti-Polaris over the course of the year, which means it keeps pointing toward the sun every six months, but while that's happening the world keeps turning around that pole like it usually does too.

Then the rest of the effects I described before take place as a consequence of that.
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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby Showsni » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:01 am UTC

Ranbot wrote:Your dreich, maritime climate and surrounding oceans do have the benefit of moderating temperatures a fair amount. UK winters are mild compared to continental regions of the North America and Asia at the generally the same latitude and elevation where temperatures average 10 to 20 degrees C lower than the UK. Continental areas make up for their bitter cold winters with some gloriously warm, commonly clear, and beautiful summers, the likes of which the UK rarely experiences. It's all relative...


I remember watching the movie Cool Runnings and wondering what it would be like to live so far North in a place like Canada that it was so cold and snowy. Now I know that here in South West (kinda) England I'm living at a more northerly latitude than Calgary...

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby Sableagle » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:11 am UTC

Ranbot wrote:UK winters are mild compared to continental regions of the North America and Asia at the generally the same latitude and elevation where temperatures average 10 to 20 degrees C lower than the UK. Continental areas make up for their bitter cold winters with some gloriously warm, commonly clear, and beautiful summers, the likes of which the UK rarely experiences. It's all relative...


Winter, northern England:

Image
Image

Winter, Tromsø:

Image

Summer, northern England:

Image
Image

Some gloriously warm, commonly clear, and beautiful summers:

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

I've been to two of those, and I enjoyed visiting them both, but I also like birdsong and summer roses and anemones in the spring and little waterfalls on the hillsides and that 500nm wavelength.
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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby elliptic » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:38 am UTC

I'm going to be remarkably pedantic and point out the second of those "Summer, northern England" pictures (looking across Buttermere in the Lake District) is actually late winter or very early spring, going by the angle of the sun and the state of the vegetation.

For bonus points it's only a couple of miles from Seathwaite which is commonly alleged to be the wettest pace in the whole of England...

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby The Chosen One » Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:11 pm UTC

Growing up in northern Oregon, I always wondered why people on TV got so excited about going to the beach. Figured it must be like beer: everyone pretends to like it because everyone else pretends to like it. Now, having briefly visited the Bahamas in my late teens, I reflexively correct my friends when they suggest a "beach trip" to e.g. Seaside.

We don't have a beach, we have a coastline. it is not the same thing.

Astoria is even worse, since it then mixes that temperate "beach" aesthetic with the beer. I swear the place is one-third high-priced tourist-trap boutiques, two-thirds breweries, all held together with poorly-aging Goonies nostalgia.

All this to say, I've never given serious thought to actually moving too far away from the 45th parallel. All my friends are here, I guess.
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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby KarenRei » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:02 pm UTC

Our beaches appear to be designed for killing off tourists who wade into the water on stormy days while ignore the giant, prominent "Danger - Rogue Waves" warning signs. What is it about being on vacation that makes people act like idiots?

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby Ranbot » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:53 pm UTC

The Chosen One wrote:Growing up in northern Oregon, I always wondered why people on TV got so excited about going to the beach.....Now, having briefly visited the Bahamas in my late teens, I reflexively correct my friends when they suggest a "beach trip" to e.g. Seaside.

We don't have a beach, we have a coastline. it is not the same thing.

All this to say, I've never given serious thought to actually moving too far away from the 45th parallel...

You should plan a trip to the Maine coast. The 45th parallel runs nearly through the center of Maine so you won't stray far from it, but it's coastline is very different from Oregon.

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby JediMaster012 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:12 pm UTC

I've often thought middle latitudes were the best. You get actual seasons, and you don't have to deal with 24 hours of daylight or 24 hours of sunlight.

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby qvxb » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:17 pm UTC

Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle latitudes with you.

Nothing to excess.

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby rabidmuskrat » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:52 pm UTC

qvxb wrote:Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle latitudes with you.

Nothing to excess.


This flows so much better as

"Stuck in middle latitudes"

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby Ranbot » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:44 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:
Ranbot wrote:UK winters are mild compared to continental regions of the North America and Asia at the generally the same latitude and elevation where temperatures average 10 to 20 degrees C lower than the UK. Continental areas make up for their bitter cold winters with some gloriously warm, commonly clear, and beautiful summers, the likes of which the UK rarely experiences. It's all relative...


Winter, northern England:
...
Winter, Tromsø:
...
Summer, northern England:
...
Some gloriously warm, commonly clear, and beautiful summers:
...
I've been to two of those, and I enjoyed visiting them both, but I also like birdsong and summer roses and anemones in the spring and little waterfalls on the hillsides and that 500nm wavelength.

I feel like this is a counterargument or refutation because you repeated me verbatim, but I'm not sure. I didn't mean any slight against the UK. The UK has a relatively nice, warm, comfortable climate year round. All that ocean water and wet air surrounding the UK is a like a massive heat sink, or insulation, which does a great job of moderating the climate against extreme high and low temperatures. Compare to Quebec City, Canada at 46 deg N (~5 degrees closer to the equator than London) who build hotels out of ice in the winter, have warmer summers than London, and on average less clouds, rain, fog, and "dreich" mainly due to differences in water surrounding the regions.

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby pogrmman » Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:13 pm UTC

Ranbot wrote:. The UK has a relatively nice, warm, comfortable climate year round. All that ocean water and wet air surrounding the UK is a like a massive heat sink, or insulation, which does a great job of moderating the climate against extreme high and low temperatures. Compare to Quebec City, Canada at 46 deg N (~5 degrees closer to the equator than London) who build hotels out of ice in the winter, have warmer summers than London, and on average less clouds, rain, fog, and "dreich" mainly due to differences in water surrounding the regions.


I wouldn’t say the UK has a warm climate — it’s a mild climate, somewhat comfortable climate, but I’d call it cool. The yearly average in London is only like 10°C. That’s about the same as the winter average here. Although I’ve only been there once, it was the “summer” and I needed a jacket quite a lot.

Part of the reason Canada’s weather is so much more extreme is because Quebec City is not surrounded by ocean on all sides — especially to the north. Land is susceptible to much more extreme variations in temperature. That’s why parts of Siberia have permafrost and yet they can be pretty hot (>30°C) in the summer. That’s part of the reason even the Gulf Coast of the US (30°N) has seen temperatures down to 0°F (-18°C) in the past. (The other reason is there’s no topography blocking the arctic cold from coming that far south.)

Plus, all the water aroundthe UK is being warmed by the Gulf Stream, which certainly helps keep the climate mild.

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby freezeblade » Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:15 pm UTC

I quite enjoy my "middle latitudes" here on the pacific coast of California. I grew up in a coastal valley at 34N, the weather stayed about 55-85 all year, so there were slight seasons, which boiled down to "fog that burns off by noon or so" and "less fog, a bit warmer." The climate is "warm summer Mediterranean" and I would find it hard to live anywhere else (I'm currently closer to 38N, so it's a tad chillier, and we get more rain, but it's quite close)
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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby GlassHouses » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:06 pm UTC

JediMaster012 wrote:I've often thought middle latitudes were the best. You get actual seasons, and you don't have to deal with 24 hours of daylight or 24 hours of sunlight.

I tend to agree, but this time of year, when the trees have mostly shed their leaves and winter is about to begin in earnest, does get a lot of people down. I've felt a touch of the blues myself during the past couple of weeks. Of course, that passes, and for the most part I like winter just fine. But I'm guessing that brush with depression in late autumn was probably what prompted this comic.

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby FOARP » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:46 am UTC

The Earth is spinning along its axis at a rate of once per day, obviously


*PEDANT KLAXON*

Actually the Earth spins around its axis once every 23 hours, 56 minutes, 4.0905 seconds, with the motion of the Earth around the Sun making up for the rest of the Earth's rotation relative to the sun.

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby orthogon » Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:25 am UTC

FOARP wrote:
The Earth is spinning along its axis at a rate of once per day, obviously


*PEDANT KLAXON*

Actually the Earth spins around its axis once every 23 hours, 56 minutes, 4.0905 seconds, with the motion of the Earth around the Sun making up for the rest of the Earth's rotation relative to the sun.

Well, a sidereal day is a type of day, in my book. Anyway, it's clear that Pfhorrest was considering this distinction from the case where the sidereal rotation is set to zero:

Pfhorrest wrote:(Whether you want to call that rotating at a rate of one day per year or not rotating at all depends on your frame of reference)
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby Chz » Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:47 am UTC

GlassHouses wrote:
JediMaster012 wrote:I've often thought middle latitudes were the best. You get actual seasons, and you don't have to deal with 24 hours of daylight or 24 hours of sunlight.

I tend to agree, but this time of year, when the trees have mostly shed their leaves and winter is about to begin in earnest, does get a lot of people down. I've felt a touch of the blues myself during the past couple of weeks. Of course, that passes, and for the most part I like winter just fine. But I'm guessing that brush with depression in late autumn was probably what prompted this comic.

I found the problem to be okay at 43.5N. A little blue, but not too bad. It's a lot worse at 51.5N. London has less than 1 kWh/m²/day of solar energy from November to January and you can feel that. It's not just the short days, it's also the London weather. I crave a good cold snap because it brings clear skies and a lot of the humidity will freeze out of the air. Unfortunately, it mostly stays well above 0C and *damp*. When people speak of how green the British Isles are (because what goes for England goes double for Ireland), I hadn't realised that they're green because it's >80% humidity for most of the year and any disused surface grows moss over time.

My friends and family back in Toronto tell me it's getting a bit worse due to climate change. Toronto is a lot more likely to see >0C winter days than in the past, and you can bet they'll be grey, dreary, and wet.

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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby Sableagle » Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:45 am UTC

You can't really call London "green and pleasant." See photographs earlier in thread for examples of actual green and pleasant parts.

I think the Buttermere photograph is looking at Haystacks from the north side of the lake, so the Sun is pretty much east and it's quite early in the morning. Here's that view from further back, in winter:

Image
Oh, Willie McBride, it was all done in vain.

sonar1313
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Re: 2081: Middle Latitudes

Postby sonar1313 » Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:38 pm UTC

GlassHouses wrote:
JediMaster012 wrote:I've often thought middle latitudes were the best. You get actual seasons, and you don't have to deal with 24 hours of daylight or 24 hours of sunlight.

I tend to agree, but this time of year, when the trees have mostly shed their leaves and winter is about to begin in earnest, does get a lot of people down. I've felt a touch of the blues myself during the past couple of weeks. Of course, that passes, and for the most part I like winter just fine. But I'm guessing that brush with depression in late autumn was probably what prompted this comic.

I love this time of year. What some (or most) people consider dreary, I consider beautiful. I love gray skies in late fall and early winter and the really early darkening. A twilight-ish feeling at 4 in the afternoon with the Christmas lights all coming on and a drink of Christmas cheer in the hand is just terrific. All the stupid leaf raking is done, and the trees newly bare show off all the buildings in the city again. It's wonderfully atmospheric.

It's February that I detest. March should be the beginning of spring, but it rarely ever is. By mid-February I'm ready for temps in the 50s again, and instead they're stuck in the 30s and oh look another eight inches of snow is forecast for Monday.

Still, I wouldn't trade my middle-latitude season-changing for anything.


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