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Why the clocks go forward/back when they do?

  • 16-11-2016 11:00am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 5,364 ✭✭✭ highdef


    OK, this might not be the perfect forum for my query but not sure where to ask.

    In the autumn, the clocks go back about 8 weeks before the shortest day of the year. They then go forwards again around about 13 weeks after the shortest day. Why the discrepancy? Surely it would make more sense to have fairly equal times either side of the winter solstice?

    It's only a few weeks since the clocks went back and already I'm thinking "Only a little over 5 weeks until the days start getting longer" - This thought makes the winter period seem not all that bad however although the evenings begin to get longer from the end of December onwards, it's not until the end of March that we get that vital extra hour in the evening that really helps to alleviate SAD in a lot of people.

    As an example, on the 21st October in Dublin (approx 2 months before the winter solstice), sunrise is 08:04 and sunset is 18:15.
    2 months AFTER the winter solstice, on the 21st February, sunrise is 07:30 and sunset is 17:48.

    More interestingly, on the 21st September in Dublin (approx 3 months before the winter solstice), sunrise is 07:10 and sunset is 19:25.
    3 months AFTER the winter solstice, on the 21st March, sunrise is 06:25 and sunset is 18:40. That's a lot more usable light pre-winter solstice.

    If the clocks going forward did so in a similar way/timing as they go back (ie: about 9 weeks after the winter solstice, on the last weekend in February), sunrise and sunset times would be much more attractive than at present. So for 2017, the clocks would go forward at 1am on Sunday 26th February. This would result in:

    Sunrise: 08:19. Sunset: 18:58 - This results in enough daylight for (the very few) people who walk to school and also has the benefit of usable daylight for outdoor tasks/leisure after work for the vast majority of people who work the regular 09:00 - 17:00/17:30 working day.

    Sunrise: 07:19. Sunset: 17:58 are the current timings - Way too much wasted daylight early in the day that could be used in the evening when there is far more demand.

    Bear in mind that this discussion is not about us staying in BST/IST all year round. I think that would be a different conversation altogether. This discussion is simply to talk about why the timing of the clocks going forward/back is so asymmetrical .


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,913 ✭✭✭✭ Wanderer78


    Because humans are weird and come up with weird ideas thinking they're great ideas but in fact they're just weird stupid ideas that just annoy most.

    I'm sure somebody will be along to give you a proper answer, but that's all my brain can deal with right now


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,622 ✭✭✭ sparrowcar


    It's been mooted for a few years now about changing it altogether.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/why-are-we-still-changing-our-clocks-back-1.2847185


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,115 ✭✭✭✭ joujoujou


    Wanderer78 wrote: »
    Because humans are weird and come up with weird ideas thinking they're great ideas but in fact they're just weird stupid ideas that just annoy most.

    [...]

    +1


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,364 ✭✭✭ highdef


    sparrowcar wrote: »

    Love the second last paragraph!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 592 hotwhiskey


    I for one am glad of the change. Winter time (DST) is actually the right time not the summer time daylight savings has many do think. +1 hour come March was introduced in order to make better use of natural daylight in Spring and Summer months ahead. So instead of Sunrise before 5am approx it would be 4am if we stay on the same time now and you would loose a extra hour of daylight in the summer evenings aswell.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 488 ✭✭ coillsaille


    highdef wrote: »
    Love the second last paragraph!

    Love this comment on the article:

    "Why are we still changing our clocks?

    Because the British continue to do it stupid."


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,851 ✭✭✭✭ endacl


    In the interest of expediency, perhaps we should put them forward and back on the same day? Keep everybody happy?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,443 ✭✭✭ 17-pdr


    If we aren't going to scrap putting the clocks back we should at least shorten the time they are back. The US puts them forward on the second sunday in March. Having winter time for sometimes nearly the whole of March is ridiculous.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,141 Stealthfins


    endacl wrote:
    In the interest of expediency, perhaps we should put them forward and back on the same day? Keep everybody happy?

    I like that word expediency


  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 1,263 ✭✭✭ mike2084


    17-pdr wrote: »
    If we aren't going to scrap putting the clocks back we should at least shorten the time they are back. The US puts them forward on the second sunday in March. Having winter time for sometimes nearly the whole of March is ridiculous.

    Fully agree, it should be done at the start of March at the latest, although I read somewhere it would need EU wide agreement to change the dates.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,358 ✭✭✭ Popoutman


    Where I live in Ireland should actually be in GMT-1 as I'm over 7.5° west of Greenwich. Local solar noon for me in July is about 13.40 which is a bit silly.
    I really really do not like dst as it serves no useful purpose, certainly none that can be accommodated by other means. If you want more sunlight for the children, change the school start time not the clock on the wall. Farmers get zero benefits from the time change given the cows don't care about a clock, only sun time.
    I can understand the idea of keeping the same clock hours as our business trading partners but you can vary your own work start time to suit if needed. Work in GMT year round, and start at 7.00 to match European businesses, finishing at 16.00.

    DST just causes me quite a lot of problems as a computer admin/engineer when the clocks change and log files have duplicate times or missing entries. Huge amount of man hours worldwide wasted dealing with clock changes, and unnecessary stress on people's circadian rhythms. I'd love to see it ended, and a consistent year-round time used.


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,851 ✭✭✭✭ endacl


    I like that word expediency

    It's very expedient.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,946 ✭✭✭ Johnny Storm


    from Wikipedia "From 1968 standard time (GMT+1) was observed all year round, with no winter time change.[2] This was an experiment in the run-up to Ireland's 1973 accession to the EEC, and was undone in 1971.[1] In those years, time in Ireland was the same as in the six EEC countries, except in the summer in Italy, which switched to Central European Summer Time (CEST). One artefact of the 1968 legislation is that "standard time" (Irish: am caighdeánach[19]) legally refers to summer time;[2] the 1971 act defined a period of time in the winter as "winter time" during which the time observed would be GMT, leaving "standard time" unchanged.[1]"
    I personally seem to remember being at school at around 9:30 and it was pitch black out


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,295 ✭✭✭ PixelTrawler


    I dont mind Nov to Feb, but march drives me nuts. The clocks go forward and you only get 2.5 months to the longest day and the days are shortening again. It would be lovely if it sprang forward at the end of Feb.


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