Thursday is the Winter Solstice which is the official start of Winter. It's also the day when the Northern Hemisphere has the shortest amount of day (least amount of sunlight). In the Quad Cities, we will have precisely 9 hours and 10 minutes of daylight with 14 hours and 50 minutes of darkness.
Even though the days begin to get longer as we go through the month of January, the coldest temperatures of the season occur. Yes, temperatures get colder while the days get longer. But why is that?
The lag is known as "seasonal lag," and it occurs because the Earth's oceans and land masses absorb the sun's energy and release it slowly over time. In addition, the surface of the Earth is primarily covered by water. And where land is covering the Earth, that land is covered by atmosphere...which is primarily comprised of water. Since water can hold onto its heat easier than dry air, it takes a while for it to release it. That means, the Earth is actually releasing some heat even after the shortest day in December.
And, oh by the way. If you want to see if it's going to be colder in the next few days, check out our Accurate 8 Day Outlook by clicking --> here.
-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen