(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Ncms yet to confirm whether june 21 or 22 marked the official start of the summer.
as the mercury rose to a hot and humid 44 degrees celsius in dubai on saturday there’s no doubting that the summer of 2014 is well and truly here. but the exact day of the official summer solstice — the longest day of the year — is yet to be confirmed.
a man shielding himself from the scorching sun on saturday near discovery gardens dubai. — kt photo by leslie pableo
speaking to khaleej times on saturday a representative from the national centre of meteorology and seismology (ncms) said it had to wait for today’s sunrise and sunset timings to be able to calculate if june 21 or 22 marked the official start of the summer.
“we cannot officially confirm anything until the calculations are in. after sunset today the date will be announced” he said.
as the sun rose at 5.29am on saturday and set at 7.12pm residents in dubai enjoyed 13 hours and 43 minutes of daylight but the wait is on to see if today will fare any better.
derived from the latin words ‘sol’ which means sun and ‘sistere’ which means to stand still a solstice is a result of the earth’s axis tilting towards or away from the sun. contrary to common belief it has nothing to do with the earth being closer to the sun.
saturday’s extra daylight was enjoyed by many around the city although most were unaware it could potentially be in the running for the longest day of the year.
“i had no clue. it just seems like any other day to me” 20-year-old hannah forbester told khaleej times. “i’ve spent the day chilling by the pool but if it does prove to be the longest day of the year i’ll be happy. it’s my last day in dubai for a little while so i’m making the most of this apparent extra daylight.”
events coordinator forbester who has been working in the uae for a year is heading back home to cooler climates in the uk. “i’m fortunate enough to be leaving just before the heat of summer kicks in but give it a few weeks in the uk and i’ll want to be back here in the sun.”
taking place between june 20 and 22 in the northern hemisphere and december 20 and 23 in the southern hemisphere the summer solstice has been celebrated for thousands of years by those who believe in the sun’s power. many commemorate the season for its association with life and fertility.
another sun-dweller oblivious to the fact that saturday could well have marked 2014’s longest day was 32-year-old stacey ward. spending time with her family on jumeriah’s open beach ward is holidaying in dubai. “we’re here on a visit from south africa. i knew of the summer solstice but truthfully i didn’t know it was today. but what better way to spend the longest day of the year than under the sun on a warm beach” she said.
although the extended daylight period only increases by a matter of seconds in most countries during the summer solstice exposure to daylight hours can be continuous in some polar regions and can often last up to six months. ward said this isn’t something she’d be keen on especially with two kids to look after.
saturday’s weather appeared typical of a summer in the desert with haze and heat taking centre stage. according to the ncms representative there were no significant changes in weather and no cloud in the sky with temperatures in the desert area of abu dhabi reaching 48.1 degrees celcius.