The Snowdial

Here’s a photo of snow melting in my front garden this afternoon. It occurs to me that, even without other clues such as the British number plate on my car, you could at least work out from this whether I was in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere. Can you see how?

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Is it because antipodean sundials are anticlockwise whereas those in the Northern hemisphere (like your trees) are clockwise, as shown by their shadows moving off the snow?

You could also have a guess at how long the snow took to melt on your lawn. And that might reveal the approx temperature when you took the photo?

Yes indeed – well done, Rick!

The sun in the northern hemisphere moves left-to-right, so the tree shadows in my picture move right-to-left. You can see the snow-covered areas which were recently in shadow, but haven’t melted yet.

Good photo and good observation. The presence of (flowering) Narcisseae is another natural-world indicator of latitude. Roll on springtime!

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© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser