The date of the beginning of winter varies according to climate, tradition and culture, but when it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and vice versa.
In many regions, winter is associated with snow and freezing temperatures.
In the Northern Hemisphere winter lasts from the Winter Solstice (varying between 20 and 22 December) to the Vernal Equinox (varying between 19 and 21 March). In the Southern Hemisphere, winter lasts from June until September.
According to meteorologists, winter extends for the whole months of December, January and February in the northern hemisphere and the whole months of June, July and August in the southern hemisphere. Under meteorological definitions, all seasons are arbitrarily set to start at the beginning of a calendar month and end at the end of a month.
The 1st day of winter 2016 in Northern Hemisphere will be on wednesday, 21st December. And the last day of winter 2017 will be on Tuesday 20th March.
The reason the equinoxes and solstices don’t always come on the same day is that Earth doesn’t circle the sun in exactly 365 days.
The Earth’s orbit around the Sun has very little effect over the Seasons on Earth. Instead, it the tilt of Earth’s rotational axis, which is angled at around 23.4 degrees, that creates seasons.
The direction of Earth’s tilt does not change as the Earth orbits the Sun – the two hemispheres point towards the same direction in space at all times. What changes as the Earth orbits around the Sun is the position of the hemispheres in relation to the Sun – the Northern Hemisphere faces away from the Sun during the December Solstice, thus experiencing winter. The Southern Hemisphere tilts towards the Sun and therefore enjoys summer during this time.
The winter solstice is the “shortest day” of the year, meaning the least amount of sunlight.
The English word “winter” comes from the Proto-Indo-European word “wend,” which stands for water.
Winter temperatures in Oymyakon, Russia, average -50 °C (-58 °F). The remote village is generally considered the coldest inhabited area on Earth. Oymyakon is a two-day drive from Yakutsk, the regional capital which has the lowest winter temperatures of any city in the world.
During the southern hemisphere winter of 1983, temperatures at Russia’s Vostok research station in Antarctica plunged to a frighteningly cold -89.2 °C (-128.6 °F) . It is the lowest natural temperature ever directly recorded at ground level on Earth.
The highest snowfall ever recorded in a one year period was 31.1 meters (1224 inches) in Mount Rainier, Washington State, United States, between February 19, 1971 and February 18, 1972.
By far the snowiest city on earth is Aomori City in Aomori Prefecture, Japan. This location averages a whopping 8 meters (26 feet) of snow per year, a 2.5 meters (100 inches) more than Sapporo, the next snowiest city.
Snow comes in different crystal shapes. Often depicted as stellar dentrites, snow can fall in a variety of shapes, such as simple prisms, hollow columns, fernlike stellar dentrites and triangular crystals. The shape of the snow is often too small to see with the naked eye, so researchers use a snowflake photomicroscope to document the different shapes and types of snowflakes.
The average snowflake ranges from a size slightly smaller than a penny to the width of a human hair.
Guinness World Records lists the largest snowflakes as having fallen during a storm in January 1887 at Fort Keogh, in Montana. A rancher nearby, the book says, called them “larger than milk pans” and measured one at 38 centimeters (15 inches) wide.
Every winter, at least one septillion (that’s 1 followed by 24 zeros) snowflakes fall from the sky.
Although many people do not think about Ice as a mineral, it is in fact a mineral just as much as Quartz is. It is a naturally occurring compound with a defined chemical formula and crystal structure, thus making it a legitimate mineral.
The first Winter Olympics were held in Chamonix, France, in 1924.
Residents of Bethel, Maine, USA, and surrounding towns, built the world’s tallest snowman, which is actually a snowwoman measuring 37.21 meters (122 ft 1 in) tall, over a period of one month, completing her on 26 February 2008. She was only a few feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty.
To survive winters, many animals have developed various survival techniques, such as migrating, hibernating, storing food, changing colors, or growing thicker fur.
Chionophobia is the extreme dislike or fear of snow. The word originates from Greek chion meaning snow and phobos meaning fear, aversion or dread. People with Chionophobia often understand that their fear is unfounded and weird. However, they are unable to control it.
Winter Blues or Seasonal affective disorder (also called SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at the same time each year, most commonly in the winter.
Winter is a major character in several movies, including The Shining (1980), The Thing (1982, 2011), Alive (1993), Fargo (1996), Whiteout (2009), The Day after Tomorrow (2004), The Big White (2005), Eight Below (2006), The Colony (2013), The Grey (2011), Wind Chill (2007) and Frozen (2010, 2013).