When the days are shorter and the wind gets colder, people know that it’s almost winter in the northern hemisphere. But the season of cold and snow isn’t a matter of what, rather it’s a matter of when. Winter is often viewed to be the last of the four seasons in a year’s cycle. As the coldest season, it is directly the opposite to summer, the hottest season.

Of course, winter is not present in all regions of the Earth, and the tropics don’t experience winter at all (although it doesn’t mean that they don’t have cold seasons).

When Winter Starts

Winter is greatly associated with snow, but seeing piles of snow only means that winter has already been around for a while.

The start of winter is marked by its own solstice, much like summer. The winter solstice indicates that the Earth has orbited around the sun to a position where the northern and southern hemispheres receive sunlight most unequally as part of the Earth is tilted away from the sun. In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice happens on or around December 21 every year.

Meteorologists mark winter as starting on different months depending on the location. In the northern hemisphere, winter happens during December, January, and February.

Dark Doesn’t Always Mean Cold

You might be wondering why parts of the Earth that are darker than others do not necessarily get as cold. At first, it seems logical that the spots where the sun shines the least should be the coldest parts of the world. But when you take into consideration how our world absorbs the heat of the sun, you realize that water and landmasses do take some time before they can get rid of the heat they have absorbed from the sun.

The Environment in Winter

Being a stark contrast to summer, winter is the time of the year when Mother Nature enters a state of dormancy. Most plants that grew during the other seasons won’t be able to survive the cold weather. Meanwhile, many animals either hibernate or migrate so that they can survive the harsh environments of this season.

This, however, doesn’t mean that you should stay at home during the winter season. It might be cold, but there’s still so much you can do to enjoy the season. This is the time when you can start planning with agencies that offer winter vacations. Be careful, though, because winter is the time for catching the flu, experiencing seasonal depression, or suffering from hypothermia or snow blindness.

In any case, make sure to prepare for the cold weather and dress properly. This should be done not only to avoid getting sick, but to make the most of the winter season as well.

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