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Dear Professor Science, Why isn't the longest day of the year the warmest? June 20, known as the summer solstice, was the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. In Newcastle the sun rose at 4.27am and set at 21.49pm, giving us more than 17 hours of daylight.

We experience daylight when Newcastle is facing the Sun, it is the Earth spinning on its axis which gives us day and night. The axis runs from the North Pole to the South Pole but the Earth is not spinning upright, the axis is tilted by 23.5 degrees.

When the Northern Hemisphere is pointed towards the sun, we receive its heat and light more directly; the days are warmer and longer and we call this summer.

Our part of the world is warmed by heat and light from the sun for longer on this day than any other in the year.

With more hours of daylight, we might think this would be the warmest day of the year, but the warmest days are usually in July and August.

DID K N It is the ultra violet (UV) light from the Sun which is absorbed by the land and seas, raising their temperatures.

85% is They in turn heat the atmosphere by re-radiating (releasing) some of this energy as infra red heat energy.

It takes a long time to warm up the land and oceans because they are so huge, so the hottest weather usually follows a month or so later, this is known as the lag of the seasons.

YOU OW ? plant life in the ocean This is the average pattern of temperatures, but our weather is changeable as our small island is influenced by weather systems from overseas. Fingers crossed some warmer weather may be on its way!

The Professor Science column is provided by the scientists at the Centre for Life in Newcastle. If you have a question please send it to
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 5, 2012
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