We’re fast approaching the shortest day of the year…

Winter is coming – well, astronomically anyway. According to UAE-based astronomer Ibrahim Al Jarwan, member of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences, winter in the UAE will officially begin on December 21, 2020.

If you want to be particularly precise, winter in the UAE will begin at 2.03pm (UAE time on December 21, and last until March 20, 2021. Al Jarwan told local news agency WAM that December 21 will be the shortest day and longest night of the year, which is also known as the winter solstice.

The winter solstice marks the first day of winter for the northern hemisphere and first day of summer for the southern hemisphere. Those of us in the northern hemisphere will experience the shortest, darkest day of the year, as the North Pole is tilted furthest away from the sun at an angle of -23.4 degrees.

Winter in the UAE

UAE winters are typically mild, with an average daytime temperature of 25°C, and nighttime temperatures along the coastline ranging from 12°C to 15°C. Inland, particularly in the mountainous areas, overnight winter temperatures can drop to 5°C.

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Last night, the lowest temperature recorded in the UAE was 6.1°C at Jebel Jais.

While the winter solstice marks the start of the astronomical winter, meteorologists typically now recognise December 1 as the start of winter.

Whether you’ve been rugged up for weeks, or only just starting to pull out your jumpers, the good news is that from Sunday onwards, the days will gradually begin to get longer again.

In the meantime, turn your attention to the skies tonight, when the Geminid meteor shower continues its nighttime spectacle – while the peak was expected to be last night, the shower will continue until December 16.