Day light saving time
Singapore, Monday 2nd April 2012
What happened to April Fool’s Day? Am I getting older and missing the action? I did not see or notice any big prank normally quite easy to spot on TV or in newspapers? Or was the LED replacement in Sydney the April’s Fool prank? 🙂 Anyhow, we are April already, incredible how quickly time flies.
It is also the time when many countries around the world have switched to or back from Day Light Saving Time (DLST) depending whether you are in the Northern or the Southern Hemisphere. In the light of all sustainable efforts around the world it makes total sense in my opinion to maximise life during day light hours. You could actually argue about the naming as we are not really saving daylight, we are maximising the use of daylight, so quite the contrary. I have always wondered about the “saving” bit. In fact in many countries it is often simply called “Summer time” or “Winter time”.
The main issue with DLST is the impact on the economy. While originally started (first implemented during WW1, nearly 100 years back now) to extend daylight for an hour after working hours with the goal to save on the energy of incandescent lighting, commercial (night time and other) interests have in some countries led to is abolishment. As the map below shows there are many countries who at one time have tried it but are no longer applying it. Some countries (like Singapore I believe) have never implemented it. Specifically for countries around the Equator it can be understood as there is practically no difference between summer and winter time, night and day being about equally long all year around.
Mixed with DLST comes also the various time zones around the world. Large countries like Australia and the USA for instance have several time zones inside their own country, even with half an hour difference! Interestingly China applies one time zone in the whole country, meaning that in the East the day starts early and in the West it starts late, but everybody runs in “sync” throughout the country.
I used to wonder what would happen if we would apply one time zone throughout the world? Some people would work at night, some during the day! Now I know that it would seriously mess up a human’s body clock, we are not really meant to sleep during the day as we need our daily dose of daylight!
Light Watch 3-46: Day Light Saving Time throughout the world of different time zones…
Blue = DST observed / Orange = DST formerly observed / Red = DST never observed (from Wikipedia)
World Time Zones (Google)