It's Time To Set Your Clocks Back!
UPDATED October 29, 2013
By WeatherBug Meteorologists
This weekend, clocks all across the U.S. will be turned back one hour as Daylight Saving Time comes to an end.
Clocks "fall back" later than they used to, years ago, as Daylight Saving Time remains with us until the first Sunday of November. The reason for an extra week of Daylight Saving Time is the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which also added three weeks of DST in March.
Until 2006, Daylight Saving Time ended the last Sunday in October. Probably the most noticeable difference between now and then is that on Halloween, skies now remain lit an hour later than in the past.
What you may not be aware of, however, is how daylight saving originated and the connection it has to weather.
The main idea behind Daylight Saving Time (DST) is to allow people and businesses to utilize daylight more effectively. More specifically, turning the clocks back in the fall and ahead in the spring helps to conserve energy.
According to many historians, the original idea for DST originated with none other than Ben Franklin, who was known for his colorful and often practical ideas in the realms of science and public policy.
In 1784, as he approached the end of his term as an American delegate in Paris, Franklin penned "An Economical Project," a discourse on the merits of natural versus artificial lighting. He included several humorous laws or ideas that the city of Paris could enact to conserve energy and make better use of daylight.
Others adopted the idea in Britain and this was the first country to put DST into effect starting in 1840 with London railroads. By 1855 a large majority of Britain`s clocks were set to DST.
Much later, the U.S. government created a law putting daylight saving time in effect during World War I and World War II. Between 1945 and 1966, however, there was no U.S. law to enforce daylight saving time.
However, by 1966 daylight saving time was in use by more than 100 million Americans due to local laws and customs. Many of these individuals were farmers, who felt their productivity benefited from the extra daylight in the morning during the spring and summer.
In 1966, the Uniform Time Act was passed, setting up a system of uniform (within each time zone) Daylight Saving Time throughout the U.S. and its territories.
Mid-fall is a natural time to turn the clocks back in the U.S., since it is a time when home and business owners are switching from air conditioning to heat.
The specific "turn back the clock date" that saves the most energy year-to-year depends on weather conditions in a particular country. In the U.S. the clocks are always turned back in mid-autumn and turned forward in early spring.
However, daylight saving time is not used in the state of Arizona (aside from the Navajo Reservation), Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. In April 2006, the Eastern Time Zone of Indiana began to use DST after decades of not changing the clocks back and forth in spring and autumn.
Many other countries use daylight saving time as well, including all of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Chile, Israel and Egypt.
In the southern hemisphere countries like Australia, Brazil and Chile, the dates are reversed because their seasons are the opposite of the northern hemisphere. Thus clocks are turned back in March or April and forward in September or October.
You can use WeatherBug to track sunset and sunrise times for your location before and after Daylight Saving Time.
Also note how your local weather station`s coolest temperatures in the morning and the warmest ones in the afternoon occur about one hour "earlier" and think about how this relates to energy usage in your home and business.
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