Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Soltice and the Weather

The winter solstice is approaching and will officially begin on December 22 at 5:30 a.m. UTC.When the sun is at -23.5 degrees, the winter solstice begins. This is the sun's most southerly declination. The beginning of the winter solstice usually falls between December 20-23. The people living south of the Tropic of Capricorn will have their longest day of the year. The people living in the northern hemisphere can expect to have the shortest day of their year. First day of winter and still no snow on the ground. What does that mean for us? I would really like to see the ground freeze and get some frost down into the soil. When the freeze and thaw cycle takes place we get some nice fracturing of the soil. Right now that is not happening. When I was out yesterday the ground was completly thawed out. I am sure the tulip bulbs don't know if they should grow or stay dormant. I have seen this type of situation in the past and all of the winter bulbs in the ground just rotted off because they were too wet all winter instead of being in a frozen state. I am not an entomologist, and the lack of frozen soil concerns me fron a insect point of view. Usually the winter will kill off some of the insect population. This winter I am not sure that this yearly phenomen is taking place. So we could see some more insect damage next year. Who knows. I am including a soil temperature map taken from #11 fairway North. You can see that the soil at 2" deep has not been below freezing since December 14th. While most of us that live here all winter are enjoying the lack of snow and the mild temperatures, our golf course needs to be in the deep freeze for a couple of months.