Six Weeks of Sunrises at 9am or Later? It’s Possible Next Year
We love to hate it.
Talking about that twice-a-year tradition of changing our clocks--either forward or back an hour.
We've been springing forward and falling back for decades now, but America appears to be on the cusp of ending the biannual custom.
Daylight Saving Time in Michigan and in most of the United States is currently in place from the second weekend of March until the first weekend of November. It's that departure from the "Standard Time" we now observe in the winter months, allowing us to enjoy that "extra hour" of sunlight on those late spring, summer, and early fall evenings.
Leaders in the nation's capital have given preliminary approval to a plan to make Daylight Saving Time permanent throughout the country. (Read more here.) Individual states would have the option to continue to observe it or not. Michigan has already opted that if the federal bill were to become law, then the Mitten State would follow along and make Daylight Saving Time permanent -- pending what our neighboring states do.
What Would Happen If We Went to Daylight Saving Time Year-Round?
Since Daylight Saving Time is our current standard from mid-March through early November, Michiganders would really only notice the difference in the winter months.
It's an inevitable fact that the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer as winter nears. December 21 (the Winter Solstice) is our shortest day every year, featuring the least potential sunlight of any given day all year.
According to timeanddate.com, sunrise in Lansing on December 21 will happen at 8:05am. Keep in mind that's under Standard Time. If we don't "fall back" in 2023, then sunrise on the first day of winter won't occur until 9:05am. There's only 9 hours and 2 minutes of daylight that day, so take your pick: the sun can set at 5:07pm Standard Time, or 6:07pm if we make Daylight Saving Time permanent.
If Michigan follows through and makes Daylight Saving Time permanent, sunrise will happen at 9am or later in Lansing from December 13 through January 24 -- that's six full weeks! Granted, kids' school vacations typically fall within this window, which minimizes the number of days that they'll definitely be getting on the bus in the dark (some already do anyway)... but 9 o'clock?! That seems crazy.
It Gets Crazier the Further North in Michigan You Go
The closer you get to the North Pole, the shorter those winter days are going to get.
For instance, in Traverse City, year-round Daylight Saving Time would result in sunrises after 9am every day from December 2 through February 2 - that's two full months!
In Escanaba it's even more extreme - year-round Daylight Saving Time would result in sunrises after 9am each morning beginning November 24 and continuing through February 8. That's nearly 11 weeks! (As a matter of fact, the sun wouldn't officially rise in Escanaba until 9:29am for about a full week around the turn of each new year.)
History Says Americans Really Don't Want Year-Round Daylight Saving Time
During the energy crisis in the 1970s, America tried Daylight Saving Time on a full-time basis in an effort to save energy. It didn't work, and it didn't last. Turned out that people despised going to work and school in the dark even more than they hated coming home in the dark, and no appreciable reduction in energy use was detected.
Read more about that failed experiment here.
Have we changed as a people? Are we really ready to try year-round Daylight Saving Time again? We shall see.