Climate Change

We’re experiencing climate change.  I’m not talking about global warming.  I mean we’ve moved to a new climate!  And it’s time to talk about the differences, in three parts: temperature, light, and precipitation.

Temperature: Home is more extreme.

I wasn’t easily able to get temperature data for St. Andrews, Fife and Arlington, MA.  Instead, I got Edinburgh and Boston, which are close.

Nor was I able to easily get day-by-day averages.  Instead, I got averages across entire months.  This smooths the extremes, so the temperatures in the chart below look more moderate than residents of those areas experience in the hottest/coldest days, but it’s fine for a rough comparison.

Blue is typical lows and highs at home, orange is typical lows and highs here.

As you can see, winter is colder and summer is hotter at home than here.  Lydia, in particular, is delighted about the cooler summers.

Daylight: Here is more extreme.

Since we’re almost 14 degrees of latitude further north, the days are longer in the summer and shorter in the winter.  But if you try to make that precise, you hit a quagmire of technical definitions.

Yeh’ve got yer plain old daylight, when the sun is up.  Then you’ve got civil twilight, when the sun just went down but you can, like, totally still see.  Then you’ve got nautical twilight, which is darkish but with stars, so they could still navigate (before GPS).  Then you’ve got astronomical twilight, which astronomers say isn’t night, but the rest of us can’t tell the difference.  Then there’s plain old night we can all agree on.

To simplify, I’m going to lump day and civil twilight together (“seems light to me”) and the other three together (“seems dark to me”).  This data I was able to get specifically for Arlington and St. Andrews.

Blue is Arlington and orange is St. Andrews, which, oops, is the reverse of the other chart.  Sorry.  The numbers are hours of light.

The chart doesn’t show it, but from roughly June 1 to July 15, you never actually get darker than the nautical twilight phase here.  That is, real night doesn’t actually officially happen in the middle of summer.  Astronomers get absolutely nothing done.

We are coming off that extreme now, and the other extreme is on its way, peaking just before Christmas.  We’ll let you know how hard it is to get out of bed the last few days before school vacation starts.  Sorry, I mean “school holiday.”

Precipitation: It’s drier here, except in October.

I had an association with rain and Great Britain before I looked this one up, especially in London, but it turns out the facts don’t support that reputation.

October is actually quite rainy here, but the rest of the year (especially March through May) are way wetter (also a technical term, yes) at home.  This data, too, was only for Boston and Edinburgh, not the specific cities we’ve lived in.

Typically the year is almost 20% wetter at home.  Of course, I’m reporting this on a day on which I walked the dog on the beach to the sound of crashing surf and mist coming at me sideways, but it’s not always like that!  In fact, it’s like that less here than home, typically.


Whatever you do, don’t come visit in October.  Try March.  The weather’s warmer, the daylight’s the same, and the rain is about half as bad.

(I confess that the charts were done in Excel.  My programmer friends can now scoff.  It was just some quick and dirty charts, okay?  Get off my back.)


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