Winter starts this afternoon at 3:03 PM PST. It’s called the winter solstice. It’s the shortest day of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere the Sun is at its lowest elevation in the sky, meaning it’s least effective at heating us.
That’s the easy stuff. Like nearly everything else in life the Winter Solstice is more complex than it seems.
Though the days will get longer the Sun will continue to rise later until early January! If it’s dark when you get up, that’s not changing for a while. Afternoon sunsets have been getting later since the beginning of the month. Blame it all on Earth’s tilted axis and our non-circular orbit around the Sun.
The shortest day is not usually the coldest day. Though the Sun’s becoming a more effective heat source by the day, it won’t be until January that it becomes a big enough factor to turn the average temperature warmer. That’s one reason ‘meteorological winter’ is December-January-February.
All sorts of things we think we know are wrong–especially at the solstice. The Sun doesn’t rise in the east or set in the west. It’s southeast and southwest today.
Today is an important day on Earth’s yearly calendar. Spring is getting nearer… though still not near.