Sunday, 2 October 2016

Your questions: The difference between summer and winter

What are the hours of sunset and sunrise in summer and winter? 
In summer, from the end of October to the end of February, the sun circles around the horizon and never sets. You can see what it's like in this amazing 24-hour time lapse video of 24 hours of sunlight in Antarcticafilmed by Anthony Powell. 
In winter, at Scott Base, the sun sets in April and doesn't rise again until the end of August. Winter means 24 hours of darkness, freezing cold temperatures and blizzards that might keep you indoors for days. (Other times, you would be able to go out by moonlight or torch light.) Until recently, there would be no flights in or out during the months of darkness, but the Royal NZ Air Force can now fly there in winter.

Are seasons the same as here? 
There is really only summer and winter. Nobody talks much about spring or autumn. Maybe it's because there aren't any flowers to mark the spring, or any trees to turn colour in the autumn. Or maybe the difference between sunlight and dark is so overwhelming that it overshadows everything else. 

Last sunset, 2016; photo by Anthony Powell;
Antarctica NZ Pictorial Collection [2015-2016], CC licence
What is summer like?
Here's one article about the start of the 2016 summer season at Scott Base.

How long can you stay outside before you freeze?
Here's one answer from a newspaper chat session with Becky Goodsell, Winter Base Leader at Scott Base in 2013Becky said: "In the summer it is possible to run around outside wearing thermals & shorts/T-shirt for maybe an hour. In the winter, on a really cold day (-40), if you hold your breath... maybe 30 seconds!"

Moonlight at Cape Evans, Photo by Richard McBride;
©Antarctica New Zealand Pictorial Collection

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