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Summer solstice occurs Tuesday morning

Summer starts in Alabama on June 21st at 4:14 a.m.
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 11:33 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - It may be hard to believe, but summer hasn’t arrived yet. I know, that probably sounds ridiculous considering the heat we’ve already experienced. But trust me, it’s true.

Summer 2022 kicks off tomorrow, June 21st at precisely 4:14 a.m. CDT.

Summer kicks off on June 21st at 4:14 a.m. CDT.
Summer kicks off on June 21st at 4:14 a.m. CDT.(WSFA 12 News)

That exact time marks the summer solstice. Some may call it the June solstice. If you’re wondering what this “solstice” word means, don’t worry. You’re not alone in that boat.

A solstice occurs twice every year in the Northern Hemisphere-- once to mark the beginning of summer and once to mark the start of winter. In the summer it marks the longest day of the year and always occurs on June 20th, 21st or 22nd.

The summer solstice marks the sun’s northernmost point in our sky for the year. As a result, it’s the longest day and shortest night of the year for the Northern Hemisphere.

Once we get past the summer solstice the days actually get shorter and shorter. That may seem contradictory since July and August are our hottest months most years. There’s a reason for that...

The days begin getting shorter as summer kicks off on June 21st.
The days begin getting shorter as summer kicks off on June 21st.(WSFA 12 News)

The sun’s light and warmth are the most intense on the summer solstice, but there’s a phenomenon called the “lag of the seasons” or “seasonal lag.” Put simply, it takes time for Earth to warm up and “build up” heat after the cold winter months.

So the sun is working to warm the Northern Hemisphere up during June. Once things get “warmed up,” the sun is then allowed to effectively heat us up. The result is July and August being the hottest stretch year after year.

It’s the same concept that describes why the mid-afternoons are warmer than solar noon even though solar noon is when the sun is directly overhead!

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