Everyone loves sunsets. Sunsets grace the covers of travel magazines and brochures. People talk endlessly about the sunset they saw on this beach or that beach. Photographers are always trying to capture that perfect sunset picture. On Facebook, people share photos of the sunset they saw that night. Sunsets are definitely inspiring and enchanting. But, have you noticed how sunsets in the winter seem even more beautiful?
I was curious about whether I was actually seeing a more beautiful sunset in winter or if it was all in my imagination. In my thinking, I had decided that the air must be cleaner and crisper in the winter, resulting in more beautiful sunsets. I thought about the heat you can see rising off the pavement in the summer and thought this might affect the sunset. But, I’m no scientist, so I did some research to find out if there was a scientific explanation. Turns out, there is.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) affirms that late fall and winter sunsets are indeed more beautiful. Steven Corfidi, a meteorologist with NOAA, says that winter sunsets tend to be more colorful because “the air along the path of the ray of sunlight tends to be dryer and cleaner.” In an article in Mother Earth News, December 2014, titled “Why sunrises are more amazing in the winter," they report that NOAA states, "Because air circulation is more sluggish during the summer… late fall and winter are the most favored times for sunrise and sunset viewing over most of the United States." So, sunsets are more beautiful in the winter.
Now, get out there and take advantage of these last few weeks of winter and enjoy those sunsets, and if you are an early riser, enjoy the sunrises. You won’t be disappointed.
Katharine Spigarelli joined the Master Naturalists in 2010, but she feels she has been a naturalist all her life. She grew up in the country and being outdoors is where she loves to be. Photography is a passion and nature photography, in particular, inspires her. She is proud to be a tree hugger.