The sun’s rays taper off in strength as the winter months come, but it is not weaker. Overall sunlight intensity in winter increases by almost 30% compared to summer. This phenomenon is because, during the summer months, there is more atmosphere covering the sun, but in the winter months, there is much less. However, the UV rays are still present, and they can be equally strong between seasons.
This high intensity does not mean that it’s warmer in the winter than in the summer. Wind and radiation are pretty similar in both seasons, but a steadier energy flow through the atmosphere. Solar radiation is deflected by the atmosphere less at low latitudes (the Earth’s tropics), and it gets blocked by clouds more often at higher latitudes (northward), all of which changes day to day.
Winter sun varies with locations, but usually, different seasons have different length days based on latitude and shorter days. After all, there are fewer hours of daylight. There can also be large variations in cloud cover across seasons.
The radiant energy is not stronger in the winter, but the distance it can be felt is more. It’s not warmer in the winter than in the summer, but your skin can get warmed up faster because of increased exposure. The seasons have slight variations for that reason only. For example, if there are six hours of daylight on a 24-hour basis during summertime, you will feel less radiant energy during one season than another.
Northern Hemisphere vs. Southern Hemisphere:
In the northern hemisphere, winter is a season of darkness, but it’s not much better in the southern hemisphere. The tropics become very warm during summertime. However, the Earth is tilted on its axis, so a part of it faces constant sunlight. The tropics in the Southern Hemisphere are tilted towards this part of Earth. Their day lengths and daily temperatures are similar to those in the summertime of the northern hemisphere.
At high latitudes, winter nights can be shorter than their summer counterpart. On the flip side, days can be much longer in winter than summer. If you live at higher latitudes, the season of darkness will end more quickly and start again soon.
What Time Is The Sun Least Harmful In Winter?
Sunlight exerts more of a positive effect on your metabolism in winter, but it is not stronger. As a general rule of thumb: the sun is weakest between 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. In the morning, it is strongest between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Effects of Winter Sun:
The Winter sun has more ultraviolet rays than other seasons. The cold weather makes some people feel like they are healing with increased exposure. They should not do this since it can affect your skin and eye health negatively.
Skin Cancer: Exposure to UV-radiation doesn’t just depend on the number of hours of sunlight but also on how intense the sun is, which depends on its distance from the Earth during a specific time of day. This high exposure is why the winter sun is so harmful to your skin since it has a higher intensity than other seasons.
Eye Disease: You can get more UV exposure during the morning and late afternoon hours during the winter. This exposure is why they are most at risk for eye disease. The sun’s rays significantly affect eyes in winter because of the decrease in distance from the sun. When there is less distance between your eyes and the sun, your cornea undergoes more damage from it.
Ears: When the sun’s rays reach your ears, they can burn them and cause infections in them. You should be careful and do no activities which require more exposure to the cold weather, such as skiing or snowboarding.
Face: The significant damage that can happen to your face comes from exposure to sunlight during the winter months. The UV rays can make you more prone to skin cancer and other diseases. Though the rays are not as strong, they do have a big effect on the skin and cause premature aging.
Internal Health: Overexposure to the sun’s rays can be a cause of internal health problems. It can affect your gall bladder and muscles, among others.
Less Vitamin D: People who live in the northern latitudes that undergo winter months have a huge problem with vitamin D deficiency. They have less sun exposure than people who reside in summer areas. This low sun exposure causes them to have less vitamin D, which is very important for their bodies.
Tips for Staying Safe:
1. Always wear sunglasses in the bright sun to keep your eyes safe from the rays of the sun.
2. It is not advisable to spend long hours in the snow without putting on winter clothing to protect your skin from irritation and UV rays.
3. Apply sunscreen if you are going to be outside for more than a few minutes.
4. Cover your ears with a hat or protect them with headphones, but do not expose them when you are outside.
5. Apply lip balm with SPF to protect your lips from sunburns.
The Winter sun can be very harmful, but it’s not as strong as other seasons. However, it’s enough to make you sick if you are exposed to it for too long. There is a lot of difference between a summer day and a winter day.