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The solar winter has begun… the 3 darkest months of the year

While we’re still in Autumn the “Solar Winter” has just begun – the second week of May marks the three months of the year with the shortest day lengths and therefore least amount of solar energy/light.

In the Southern Hemisphere the Solar Winter starts in early May and lasts until early August. More specifically it’s six and a half weeks either side of the shortest day of the year, which this year is on June 21st.

New Zealand’s coldest weather usually peaks at the end of the solar winter but we can have wintry blasts anytime from now through until November (and even sometimes briefly in summer).


  • The Solar Winter runs from the second week of May to the first week of August
  • The Meteorological Winter starts on June 1
  • The Astronomical Winter starts on June 21 this year
  • Mother Nature, of course, has the ultimate decision and for a nation like NZ, partially in the Roaring Forties belt of weather, we can sometimes have shorter than expected winters and summers. But not every year. Weather is, after all, a mixture of pattern and chaos. Especially living on islands on the edge of the Southern Ocean.
  • By Philip Duncan


Samantha on 10/05/2024 9:53am

Very interesting thanks 👍

Esther Mendoza on 9/05/2024 5:38am

Gee,thanks, Philip. Such cheerful news! On the other hand, once we hit 21st/22nd June, I start counting the days when ever so slightly, the daylight starts to get progressively longer.

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