As spring slowly gets underway, we may not immediately notice a change in the weather, but one thing that is notable at this time of year is the lengthening daytime.
In fact, we get around three and a half hours more daylight now than we did around Christmas time.
The dark mornings and evenings are fast becoming a distant winter memory, with the sun higher in the sky with each passing day.
But what causes this regular change?
It is all down to the permanent tilt of the Earth on its axis.
Instead of rotating along a vertical axis, it actually rotates at an angle of around 23.5°.
As a result, at certain times of the year, parts of our planet are “tilted” away from, or closer to, the Sun.
During our wintertime, we are tilted away from the Sun.
As a result, less sunlight hits the northern hemisphere, with the Arctic seeing no sunlight at all during the depths of winter.
The sun is lower in the sky, and day lengths are short.
The day lengths reach a minimum on what is known as the Winter Solstice.
This falls around 20th-23rd December every year, and our area receives less than 8 hours of daylight, with shorter day lengths the further north you go.
We are now approaching what is called the Vernal Equinox, which falls on 20th March this year.
This is the date when, effectively, the days and nights are of equal length.
The day length will continue to increase until the Summer Solstice in mid-June, when we will see well over 16 hours of daylight as the planet “tilts” towards the Sun. Around this date it never actually gets completely dark at night, and if you look to the northern horizon during the night you will notice a faint glow. Beyond this date, the nights begin to drawn in as we start the slow descent into the winter months and the cycle starts again.
Weatherwise for the end of the week, it looks like it will remain fairly unsettled with outbreaks of rain possible at times.
While it could well be drier into the weekend with some sunny spells, it could be on the chilly side with frosts possible.