World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Seasonal lag

Article Id: WHEBN0000787841
Reproduction Date:

Title: Seasonal lag  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Season, Summer, Winter, Diurnal temperature variation, Valverde, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Collection: Climatology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Seasonal lag

Seasonal lag is the phenomenon whereby the date of maximum average air temperature at a geographical location on a planet is delayed until some time after the date of maximum insolation. This also applies to the minimum temperature being delayed until some time after the date of minimum insolation.

An analogous temperature lag phenomenon occurs in diurnal temperature variation, where maximum daily temperature occurs after noon (maximum insolation).

Seasonal lag on Earth

Earth's seasonal lag is largely caused by the presence of large amounts of water, which has a high latent heat of freezing and of condensation. The length of seasonal lag varies between different climates, with extremes ranging from as little as 15–20 days (for polar regions in summer and continental interiors) to as much as 2½ months (for low-latitude oceanic areas). Interestingly, in many locations, it is not "seasonally symmetric"; that is, the period between the winter solstice and thermal midwinter (coldest time) is not the same as between the summer solstice and thermal midsummer (hottest time). In low and mid latitudes, the summer lag is longer, while in polar areas the winter lag is longer (coreless winter in interior Antarctica and Greenland). In mid-latitude continental climates, it is approximately 20–25 days in winter and 25–35 days in summer.

San Francisco, for example, has a long seasonal lag of approaching three months in the summer, with typical temperatures peaking around mid-September, and October as its second-warmest month, but very little seasonal lag in the winter, with the lowest temperatures in late-December around the winter solstice.[1] This is caused by the water in the Bay Area surrounding the city on three sides. Many areas along North America's west coast have very small winter lag and are characterized by a much more gradual spring warming and rapid autumn cooling.

Seasonal lag on other planets

Other planets have different seasonal lags. The gas giants Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus, as well as Saturn's moon Titan, all have substantial seasonal lags corresponding to the equivalent of between two and three months in Earth terms. Mars, on the other hand, has negligible seasonal lag of no more than a few days.[2] For the case of Venus no seasonal lag would be detected, because the planet undergoes no seasons due to very efficient heat transport in its massive atmosphere. And for Mercury, no seasonal lag would also be detected, even for its "anomalistical seasons" since it has negligible atmosphere and so undergoes almost instantaneous heating and cooling.


  1. ^ "Radiative Time Constant". 
  2. ^
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.