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City plunged into two months of darkness won't see daylight until end of January

City plunged into two months of darkness won't see daylight until end of January

It feels bad enough when it's dark before you finish work, let alone being dark all day

A city that was plunged into two months of darkness now won’t see daylight until the end of January.

And here’s us moaning that it’s still dark when we get up for work in the morning.

Here's a time lapse of what it was like there yesterday (3 December), showing 24 hours during which the sun never rose:

The sun set on America’s northernmost town for the final time this year in late November, as the Arctic Circle now experiences ‘polar nights’.

Utqiaġvik, Alaska, will now not experience a sunrise until 23 January 2024 at around 1.09pm local time and will be visible for about an hour.

The amount of daylight in the town will then steadily grow through the spring season, reaching the point of ‘midnight sun’ during the summer.

And, you guessed it, that’s when Utqiaġvik will experience the opposite of winter; 24 whole hours of sunlight a day.

This annual phenomenon of the polar night is when the sun remains below the horizon due to the tilt of the Earth.

These folks won't be getting much vitamin d.
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Because of where Utqiaġvik sits within the Arctic circle, its 5,123 locals will only get a tiny glimmer of light at dawn - also known as 'civil twilight' - but the sun itself will remain below the horizon for the next two months.

And if months of darkness wasn't bad enough, at the time of writing it's -12C over there. Yikes.

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Danielle Banks of The Weather Channel previously explained: "They are not going to see the sun in all its glory until late January, so that is more than two months.

"There's not going to be complete darkness. There are a few hours each day with enough light to see, but the folks who live here have technically seen their last sunset [of the year]."

The University of Alaska Fairbanks has created the Utqiaġvik Sea Ice Webcam, which shows the rest of the world what the city looks like during the polar night period.

University of Alaska Fairbanks

The stream comes from a camera overlooking the 'landfast ice' (or coastal ocean during the ice-free period in summer) from the top of a the bank building in downtown Utqiaġvik.

Located at 71° 17′ 33″ N, 156° 47′ 18″, approximately 20m above sea level, the camera looks approximately northward.

On its website, the university explains: "Apart from providing a visual impression of the sea-ice conditions off Barrow, these images establish a longer-term record of key dates in the seasonal evolution of the sea-ice cover, such as: onset of fall ice formation, formation of a stable ice cover, onset of spring melt, appearance of melt ponds, beginning of ice break-up in early summer, removal or advection of sea ice during the summer months.”

Well, next time I’m grumbling that the sun’s not even up yet on my commute, I’ll be remembering this, I guess.

Featured Image Credit: University of Alaska Fairbanks

Topics: World News, Weather, Science, US News