Which country has the shortest daylight?

Today is the day of darkness. Or that of the beautiful long evening. Depending on how you like to see it. This Monday is a day of hope for more light. The day after which the days get longer again. The day on which the summer evenings are approaching again without winter even having begun. Because it only begins with the winter solstice.

Everyone can interpret and evaluate the winter solstice for themselves. But whether voluntary or not, it is emotionally more formative than most of the other calendar and seasonal highlights. It just gets more light again after dark. A primal longing in us and conditioned by evolution. It was created over millions of years.

But the light is unfair, not evenly distributed everywhere in Germany. When the sun is already 7.53 a.m. above the horizon on this Monday in Berchtesgaden in the far south, List has to wait just under an hour on Sylt. The sunny day there ends 18 minutes earlier. These are dark times in the north. The Leipzig Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography has calculated the difference in sunlight in Germany for one hour and 17 minutes more light.

Dresden experiences its Monday sunrise at 8:05 a.m. At 4 p.m. the sun is over, if it can get through fog and clouds at all. It is exactly 7 hours, 54 minutes and 18 seconds of light - at least in theory. Two minutes less than on Sunday. New Year's Eve, on the other hand, is six minutes more according to "timeanddate.com", a leading global website on daylight.

The earth's axis, which is inclined by 23.5 degrees, is to blame for this unequal treatment. But what does guilt mean here, without this axis shift there would be no seasons. Without the seasons, probably no life on earth as we know it, if at all.

There is light

Today on Monday 11.02 a.m. it's time, summer is coming again. Then we passed the winter point. But the calendar winter is only just beginning. The meteorologists have had their winter since December 1st. You need the statistics smooth. Full months pay off better with the huge amounts of data. But besides pure statistics, the meteorologists have other reasons for their winter calendar from December 1st. It is mainly in the fog.

Due to the ever shorter period of time that the sun can shine in the darkest months of the year, it is less and less able to dissolve fog and high fog. The days are just too short to make the hazy work of the night disappear completely.

There are few hours of sunshine around the earlier meteorological beginning of winter. Under certain circumstances, long-lasting high pressure weather conditions with mighty high fog fields can prevent sunshine for days from November. In February the world will look different again from a meteorological point of view. For us, however, it is still the dead of winter.

What the meteorologists can do, biologists, botanists and environmental ecologists also do. They too get their own phenological start of winter. This doesn't even have a fixed date and is based solely on nature. Whatever blooms there, it determines the season. Winter is when the sycamore oak loses its leaves, when the European larch drops its needles. For the biologists, winter ends when the snowdrops sprout from the ground, indicating early spring.

Dark to gray

From an astronomical point of view, an average of around 248 hours of sunshine would be possible in Germany in December. As the German Weather Service calculated from the data for the cities of Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, Offenbach and Munich, the sun could theoretically have shone for around 145 hours until last Friday. But only 18 hours came together in the German mean. That is only twelve percent of the possible solar time and a third less than the usual average.

Or to put it another way: December in Germany has so far been mostly gray with its already short days. For fans of the sunshine, the bad times still last. Apart from November and December, the three grayest months of the year include January with an average of only 44 hours of sun.

And Christmas? If the meteorologists now look at their forecasts for the coming days, they will find above all clouds and abundant precipitation. That doesn't exactly indicate brighter times. In the end, this December will probably go down in weather history as much too cloudy and too dark. The sun, which will shine longer again from tomorrow, cannot change that if it does not get through to us.