When does winter start?

How you define the first day of winter depends on whether you are referring to the astronomical or meteorological winter.

The day in our calendar that marks the first day of winter usually refers to the astronomical seasons which are a result of the Earth’s axis and orbit around the Sun.

Astronomical winter

This year, astronomical winter begins on 21 December 2021 and ends on 20 March 2022.

8 interesting facts about winter

Whether you dread the windy weather or look forward to the crisp mornings, find out 8 interesting facts about winter.

Winter is a fascinating time of year and we’ve got 8 interesting facts about the season.

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

1. Winter is coming

There are two different dates when winter could be said to begin, depending on whether we are referring to the Meteorological or Astronomical winter.

Astronomical winter is defined by the Earth’s orbit around the Sun and begins on the winter solstice, which falls on 21 or 22 December.

However, when recording and comparing climate data, it is important to have set dates that can be compared and so for this reason a fixed date of 1 December is used to mark the start of the meteorological winter.

2. Earth is closest to the Sun in winter

You might be surprised to know that in the northern hemisphere the Earth is closest to the Sun during winter.

Around 3 January, the Earth reaches perihelion (peri meaning ‘near’ and helion meaning ‘sun’) and the Earth is 3.1 million miles closer to the Sun than at aphelion (around 5 July when the Earth is furthest from the Sun).

Earth’s distance from the Sun is not what causes the seasons but it does affect the length of them. Around perihelion, the Earth is moving around 1 kilometre per second faster than at aphelion which results in winter being 5 days shorter than summer.

Perihelion

Peri = near

Helion = sun

(metOffice web)

3. The coldest temperature recorded in winter

The coldest temperature ever recorded during a UK winter was -27.2 °C, which has been recorded 3 times. It was twice recorded in the village of Braemar, on 11 February 1895 and again on 10 January 1982, and once in Altnaharra on 30 December 1995. Both sites are in the Scottish Highlands.

4. The winter of 1963

The winter of 1963 is one of the coldest on record and the coldest since 1740. Temperatures consistently reached lower than – 20 °C with blizzards, snowdrifts and even the sea freezing around the coast.

The severe cold began just before Christmas in 1962 as a high pressure system sat to the northeast of the UK for much of the winter, dragging cold polar winds over the UK.

On 29 and 30 December, a blizzard struck the UK with snowdrifts up to 6 metres deep. Snow continued to fall frequently and until early March 1963, much of the UK remained covered in snow.

5. The roots of winter

The word winter comes from the Germanic wintar which in turn is derived from the root wed meaning ‘wet’ or water’, and so signifies a wet season.

In Anglo-Saxon cultures, years were counted by the winters, so a person could be said to be ‘2 winters old.’ The first day of winter was also of symbolic importance named Vetrardag and falling comparatively early in the year between 10 and 16 October.

6. Wet snow vs. dry snow

Ever wondered why sometimes snow sticks together and sometimes it’s powdery and loose? The reason for this lies in the snowflake’s journey as it falls through the atmosphere.

Snowflakes that fall through a dry, cool atmosphere will be small and powdery and won’t stick together. We call this dry snow – it’s ideal for skiing, but not for building a snowman.

The snowflakes that form wet snow will have fallen through temperatures slightly warmer than 0 °C. As they fall, the snowflakes melt slightly around the edges and stick together to form large, heavy flakes. These stick together easily and are the best for a snowball fight and making snowmen.

7. Reindeer vision

Some reindeer living above the Arctic Circle live in complete darkness for several weeks of the year.

To adapt to this, a small area of tissue behind the retina called the tapetum lucidum changes colour from a gold colour in summer months to blue in winter. This allows the reindeer’s eyes to detect ultraviolet light and to see in the dark.

8. How much water is there in snow?

The exact amount of water contained in snow can vary quite significantly depending on how the snow formed, but as a general average, every 12 cm of snow would provide 1 cm of water.


Snowman piano – D Peppiatt (original H Blake)

A bit of a cold spell

And that’s the first week of January completed already!What a change this week from really mild weather to freezing cold and icy. A cold ride home, my ears and cheeks felt so cold! By the end of the week we also a dusting of snow as well but nothing like some parts of the country.

No one owns the …

Just thought I would add this quote today which popped up on my timeline today – very true.

Beautiful mild day

I heard a bird sing in the dark of December. A magical thing. And sweet to remember. We are nearer to Spring than we were in September. I heard a bird sing in the dark of December.” Oliver Herford

Dull November

Dull November brings the blast; Then the leaves are whirling fast. Sarah Coleridge

Lake District Memories V

It’s Sunday so it must be visit the Lake District day! If you go to the Lakes, be prepared for every weather. All photographs are taken by SJ Butler Photography. The climate, together with the geology of the area has made the Lake District what it is today. In the last 2 million years a […]

So tired…

Well my answer is yes, I’m feeling really exhausted and I’m so ready for a few days off coming up soon. I haven’t really been out with my camera taking any Autumnal shots yet. I’m hoping that next week might have some really lovely days so that i can go out and take my camera […]

The weekend at last!

Good morning

Another frosty morning today! Rain is forecast for later on so any outside work needs to be done soon.

My order from Thompson & Morgan’s seeds came today. Lots of packets of little seeds of colour and happiness. I can’t wait to get back into my greenhouse to start planting.

New to the site? Start here

Busy days

This week has been such a fantastic week of sunrises and colours! I also found out that I’m going to be Showcasing my work in June at No3 again! So, this morning I’ve been making a few Cyanotype cards. I’ve made a short video of me making them.

Cold weekend

The past few day days have been so cold but it has been lovely to get out and about! The image left is a composite of two images layered over the top. It was so cold when I was taking these that I couldn’t feet my fingers! Kate Bush Instrumental

Beautiful mornings

This week has been such a fantastic week of sunrises and colours! It makes getting out of bed so much easier when you know you’re going to be met by stunning Mother Nature! I hope next week will be just as stunning. Anyone else noticed the lighter mornings and lengthing days?

Thursday Tales

Good morning

Another busy day today!

A bit of gardening & tidying up after Storm Arwen and the snow/frost that we had a few days ago.

My lovely Cosmos has had to be pulled up, until next year when I’ll plant some more. I’ve also ordered some lovely golden yellow ones for next year as well.

The birds are loving the berries in the garden, I keep seeing them eating all the left over grapes as well!

New to the site? Start here

  • Busy days
    This week has been such a fantastic week of sunrises and colours! I also found out that I’m going to be Showcasing my work in June at No3 again! So, this morning I’ve been making a few Cyanotype cards. I’ve made a short video of me making them.
  • Cold weekend
    The past few day days have been so cold but it has been lovely to get out and about! The image left is a composite of two images layered over the top. It was so cold when I was taking these that I couldn’t feet my fingers! Kate Bush Instrumental
  • Beautiful mornings
    This week has been such a fantastic week of sunrises and colours! It makes getting out of bed so much easier when you know you’re going to be met by stunning Mother Nature! I hope next week will be just as stunning. Anyone else noticed the lighter mornings and lengthing days?
  • Weekend walks
    I’m slowly getting through the images that I took from my January walk week 2 at the Castle Howard Estate. If you look carefully you will see a tiny Shetland pony just to the right of the white horse. Can you spot him? He was quite shy so I couldn’t get a better picture of […]

National Tree Week

National Tree Week

Apparently this week is National Tree Week which is the UK’s largest annual tree celebration, running from Saturday 27 November to Sunday 5 December.

So, as you probably know I am a big tree lover so here are a few of my favourites.

New to the site? Start here

SJ Butler Photography – Trees at Derwentwater – Cumbria

Monday. On the mend

Monday morning here again, another (and hopefully my last) of being off with Covid. Got the all clear with my (two) LFT this morning so fingers crossed back to work tomorrow.

I’m still full of cold, no taste or smell and chest a bit wheezy this morning but if I take it nice and slow all week there’s another weekend there waiting for me!

Deep Winter

Thought I would show one of my Winter fine art composites from last year – this was made with many layers on PhotoShop. Yes, the rabbit is (was) a real rabbit that a photographed on a hill near me, funnily enough called Bunny Hill! The top header picture is actually part of Bunny Hill!

The Christmas craft fair at No3 went great – I sold my friend sold quite a lot of cards. I don’t know what portion of stock I have left until I return to work tomorrow. So a big shout out to Nicola Harper Textiles Artist! (link to come soon).

Sunday Snow

A bit late on the updates but we had S N O W !
Normally I’m the first one out there with my camera chasing the deepest snow. Not. this. time.
Still trying to get back to ‘normal’ but at the same time having to go back to ‘normal’.

Made my first step out into the garden to chip away at the thick ice and the snow that had accumulated on the bird baths over the past few days. I could here the birds chirping in delight at having some fresh drinking/bathing water!

That’s all the news today, keep warm, keep safe and enjoy the day 🙂

Snowflakes are kisses from heaven

Saturday Gold

Squirrel bathing in the soft light

The Weekend

Another busy day!

Today a bit of gardening. The cats are having a ball chasing leaves and exploring all the ‘new’ parts of the garden since I’ve cut back lots of plants!

A visit to the ever popular Living North exhibition had be drinking samples of rum, cocktails and wine at 11 o’clock in the morning! (Plus plenty of chocolate and biscuits).

The trees are looking stunning, All we needs is a huge gust of wind or a sharp front and most of the leaves will be on the floor.

More adventures tomorrow, a Textile exhibition and a Christmas Craft fair.

New to the site? Start here

Weekend Vibes (again!)

Welcome to

The Weekend

Another week over! We are really racing through these weeks at the moment, we’ll be in December before we know it!

At the moment all is busy – I have a craft stall at work selling my cards and prints. On 28th November I have another craft stall, this time it is Christmas craft at No3 Heworth again.

I may also have another craft stall end of November, beginning of December so I better start printing some more cards!

This weekend I really must update my Etsy Shop with some Christmas cards and prints, so watch out for more info maybe Sunday or Monday.

New to the site? Start here

Dull November

Dull November brings the blast;

Then the leaves are whirling fast.

Sarah Coleridge
2021-11-28T18:09:00

  days

  hours  minutes  seconds

until

Christmas Fair

Happy Halloween

Hope you all have a good Halloween. I’ll be sitting in front of a roaring fire watching something spooky on television with my pumpkin curry!

Gorgeous homegrown mini pumpkins and gourds by SJ Butler Photography