The days are getting shorter, the nights longer as we move into the cold season in the Northern Hemisphere. We lose around 3 minutes of daylight each day. Today, we have 11 hours and 33 minutes of daylight. By the winter solstice, around December 21, it??ll be our shortest day with 8 hours and 34 minutes of daylight. Over a week or so, you can notice how much later the sun rises in the morning and sets at night.
If you would like to notice a tremendous decrease in daylight each and every day at this time of the year, book a trip to Alert, Nunavut. Alert (Image 1 above) is the northern-most inhabited settlement in the world, located at 82 degrees north latitude on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island. While we had roughly 12 hours of daylight on the autumnal equinox 11 days ago, Alert had just over 13 hours. Today at Alert, sunlight is down to 8 hours and 23 minutes. Alert is losing over three-quarters of an hour per day! At that rate, it won??t be long before the sun sets for good at Alert. This handy sunrise-sunset chart shows the last sunrise on October 14. It won??t rise again until February 28, 2013. That means residents of this lonely outpost must endure four-and-a-half months of night.
The growing darkness means the air will continue to refrigerate in the high latitudes. As snow cover develops, the refrigeration effect will continue to grow. Speaking of snow, a low-pressure in South Dakota is forecast to track through eastern Minnesota. On the system??s backside in the colder air, snow is forecast to develop. Significant snow is probable in northwest Minnesota up into Ontario (Image 2). Note the pink color over the U.P. centered over Ironwood. The model forecasts a dusting to an inch of snow there late Friday and Friday night.