What is Daylight Saving Time and the effects on Spring Weather?


Daylight Saving Time 

Credit: Jasper Boer


The Act of Springing Forward

This past weekend most of North America and several other countries around the world set their clocks ahead one hour. This annual traditional marks the beginning of Daylight Saving Time. For many, springing ahead an hour is a sure sign of Spring’s arrival and better weather in March. But why do we do it and does Daylight Saving Time serve any real purpose?


The History of Daylight Saving Time

The idea of shifting clocks ahead and back dates to 1895. George Vernon Hudson, a scientist from New Zealand and William Willett, a British builder, proposed a two-hour time change. Their idea was to move clocks ahead in October and then back in March. The proposal went to the Wellington Philosophical Society that didn’t find it worthy of follow-up.


In 1905, Willett tried again with his suggestion. Only this time around he changed the time increments to 20-minutes ahead on each Sunday in April. The idea was to switch clocks back by 20-minutes on the four Sundays of September making a total of eight time changes in a year. The Wellington Philosophical Society was still disinterested in the concept.


The first time DST was ever used was in Port Arthur, Ontario. The city shifted their clocks ahead one hour on July 1, 1908. It wasn’t until 1916 when Germany and Austria became the first countries to use Daylight Saving Time. The reasoning behind the time change, which was during the First World War, was to cut the use of artificial lighting which would save fuel for the war.


Although Daylight Saving Time tends to confuse many, springing ahead an hour means lighter, brighter mornings and later evenings as the days grow longer. It also seems to coincide with better weather in March. Warmer temperatures in Spring soon follow the switch to DST. But in reality, there is no solid reason why we change the clocks at all.


Farmers still have to feed and milk their animals on the same schedule and the weather forecast in March does little to change that. Changing the time by one hour has no real impact on the farming schedule either. Energy saving have been the general reason for the time change and even that is not easy to verify. Daylight Saving Time is truly a confusing habit.


The Effect Of Daylight Saving Time On Climate Data

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Daylight Saving Time has had an impact on weather. Even if it relates primarily to weather data collection. A study conducted by the government agency several years ago revealed that weather observations suffer early in the morning. It created an overall problem with calculating mean temperatures.


The example used was the 9:00 AM weather observation when daily temperatures tend to increase rapidly. Daylight Saving Time causes such a problem with the data collection that generally the months that host time changes have two hourly observations joined as one (8:00 AM and 9:00 AM) to try to resolve the time issue that a single hour shift can create.


Spring Ahead To WeatherBug For Timely Weather Data

Regardless of the time of day, WeatherBug is your source for accurate and up-to-date weather information. Find us at www.weatherbug.com or download our app from your favorite app store.



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