Saturday, September 14, 2013

It’s that time, spring time!

When I lived in Alaska, I lived pretty far north.  I make this statement because most people don’t realize that Alaska is a big state.  Remember that blog post about the maps and how they are presented inaccurately?  If not, check it out here.  Alaska is almost as long as the entire east coast if we were to ignore Florida.  Thus, the climate differences from north to south can be considerable.

Now, to avoid a common misconception, Alaska does NOT get 6 months of darkness and then 6 months of light!  We don’t flip a switch from dark to light; though it would be much easier if we could.
Here’s what really happens: If you live far enough north to get days with 24 hours of darkness/sunlight at a time, you get 82 days of darkness, and then as the earth begins to tilt the northern hemisphere towards the sun you gain about 11 minutes of daylight each day until after a couple of months you are at 24 hours of light.  Then you have 82 days with 24 hours of sunlight, and then the opposite happens.

When the transition from summer to fall to winter occurs and you lose those 11 minutes of light each day that is one hour in a week.  So on Sunday let’s say the sun rises at 7am and sets at 7pm.  By the following Sunday the sun is rising at 7:38am and setting at 6:21pm.  This may not sound dramatic, but it occurs quickly.
Due to the change in sunlight, the seasons change.  Now, this IS very dramatic.  And I’m not exaggerating when I say that on Sunday all the trees are green and full of leaves, by Wednesday the leaves have turned red and brown, and then by the following Sunday there are NO leaves on the trees at all.  There you go, summer to fall and straight on to winter in a week’s time.

September 1st was the official start of springtime here in Botswana.  And in the last two weeks I definitely feel that we have entered spring and headed toward summer in full force.  It is getting warm quickly.  And even better, we are starting to get flowers.  I was surprised this morning as I was looking out into my backyard to realize my tree had bloomed.  I don’t know what kind of tree it is, or if it is considered a bush, but you can examine it for yourself:

And here is a close up of one of the flowers:
Only a few days ago there were no blooms at all, but apparently the seasons are beginning to change quickly here as well. 

And even more surprising, it appears I am growing seashells as well:
For my friends back in the northern hemisphere I know fall is approaching, so stay warm.

PS- In Alaska we used to have to go Trick or Treating in boots because most years there were already several feet of snow on the ground by October 31st.  Keep that in mind my friends from Texas! ;)

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