Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Saving Time – often referred to as "Summer Time", "DST" or "Daylight Savings Time" – is a way of making better use of the daylight by setting the clocks forward one hour during the long days of summer, and back again in the fall.

When is Daylight Saving Time (DST) this year (2012)?

Sunday 11 March 2012 2:00 AM local time and Sunday 4 November 2012.

Although not used by most of the world's countries, daylight saving time is common in the Northern Hemisphere's northern latitudes.

  DST observed
  DST no longer observed
  DST never observed
 

Northern Hemisphere

Daylight saving time begins in the northern hemisphere between March–April and ends between September–November. Standard time begins in the northern hemisphere between September–November and ends between March–April. Many countries in the northern hemisphere may observe DST.

Southern Hemisphere

Daylight saving time begins in the southern hemisphere between September–November and ends between March–April. Standard time begins in the southern hemisphere between March–April and ends between September–November. Many countries in the southern hemisphere may observe DST.

Do the clocks go back or forward?

Why observe DST?

Many countries observe DST, and many do not. Many countries use DST to make better use of the daylight in the evenings. Many people believe that DST could be linked to less road accidents and injuries. The extra hour of daylight in the evening is said to give children more social time and can boost the tourism industry because it increases the amount of outdoor activities.

DST is also used to save energy and reduce artificial light needed during the evening hours — clocks are set one hour ahead during the spring, and one hour back to standard time in the autumn. However, many studies disagree about DST's energy savings and while some studies show a positive outcome, others do not.

It is difficult to predict what will happen with Daylight Saving Time in the future. The daylight saving date in many countries may change from time to time due to special events or conditions.The United States, Canada and some other countries extended DST in 2007. The new start date is the second Sunday in March (previously the first Sunday in April) through to the first Sunday in November (previously the last Sunday in October).

Press Release - Victoria, BC, Canada - 31st March 2006

Starting in 2007, Daylight Saving Time in British Columbia will begin three weeks earlier in the spring and last one week longer, Attorney General Wally Oppal announced today following a four-week public consultation.

“Adjusting our Daylight Saving Time dates will align us with the United States and other Canadian provinces,” Oppal said. “During a month-long consultation, we received 4,296 written and electronic submissions from the public, business and other organizations. Over 90 per cent were in favour of the change.”

Beginning in 2007, Daylight Saving Time (DST) in most of B.C. will begin three weeks earlier, on the second Sunday in March – March 11, 2007. The period will end on the first Sunday in November – that is Nov. 4, 2007.

 Exceptions will be those areas of the province that have historically chosen to observe different times for all or part of the year. The Peace River region does not observe DST, so its clocks will not change. The East Kootenay region observes Mountain Time, and will likely continue to synchronize its clocks with Alberta.

 “It’s a smart move for businesses like tourism, travel and telecommunications, and means we will be in sync with much of the country and our biggest trade partner – the United States,” Oppal said. “Provinces that have already announced they will adopt the change include Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and New Brunswick.”

The DST change was adopted in the United States as part of its Energy Policy Act. It was brought forward as an energy-saving policy, since DST shifts an hour of daylight time from morning to evening, which is the period of greatest energy usage.

The Attorney General is responsible for the Interpretation Act, which includes reference to time and is the authority under which Daylight Saving Time is prescribed in the province.

Brief history of DST

Benjamin Franklin first suggested Daylight Saving Time in 1784, but modern DST was not proposed until 1895 when an entomologist from New Zealand, George Vernon Hudson, presented a proposal for a two-hour daylight saving shift to the Wellington Philosophical Society.

Benjamin Franklin's letter in the Journal de Paris

The conception of DST was mainly credited to an English builder, William Willett in 1905, when he presented the idea to advance the clock during the summer months. His proposal was published two years later and introduced to the House of Commons in February 1908. The first Daylight Saving Bill was examined by a select committee but was never made into a law. It was not until World War I, in 1916, that DST was adopted and implemented by several countries in Europe who initially rejected the idea.

William Willet's pamphlet promoting DST went through nineteen editions.

Today it is almost always one hour ahead, but throughout history there have been several variants on this, such as half adjustment (30 minutes) or double adjustment (two hours), and adjustments of 20 and 40 minutes have also been used. A two-hour adjustment was used in several countries during the 1940s and elsewhere at times.

Sometimes DST is used for a longer period than just the summer, as it was in the United States during World War II. From February 3, 1942 to September 30, 1945 most of the United States had DST all year; it was called “War Time.”

In 1907 when Willett circulated a pamphlet to many Members of Parliament, town councils, businesses and other organisations, he outlined that for nearly half the year the sun shines upon the land for several hours each day while we are asleep, and is rapidly nearing the horizon, having already passed its western limit, when we reach home from work before it is over.

His proposal was to improve health and happiness by advancing the clocks twenty minutes on each of four Sundays in April, and by reversing this idea by the same amount on four Sundays in September. He reckoned that it would not only improve health and happiness but it would save the country £2.5 million pounds, that was also taking into account the loss of earnings to the producers of artificial light.

Though the scheme was ridiculed and met with considerable opposition a Daylight Saving Bill was introduced in 1909, though it met with no success before war broke out.

The idea of daylight saving time was first put into practice by the German government during the First World War.  In an effort to conserve fuel Germany and Austria began saving daylight at 11 p.m. on the 30th of April, 1916, by advancing the the clock one hour until October 1, 1916.

Britain (UK) began 3 weeks later, on 21 May 1916. This was immediately followed by other countries in Europe, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and Turkey.

Sadly, William had died the previous year so never saw his idea put into effect.

In 1917, Australia, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, Canada initiated it.

On March 19, 1918, the U.S. Congress established several time zones (which were already in use by railroads and most cities since 1883) and made daylight saving time official (which went into effect on March 31) for the remainder of World War I. It was observed for seven months in 1918 and 1919.

Most countries abandoned Daylight Saving Time after the war had finished , most reintroduced it eventually, and some even began to keep it throughout the year.

Oil Crisis

In 1968 to 1971 Britain tried the experiment of keeping BST - to be called British Standard Time - throughout the year, largely for commercial reasons because Britain would then conform to the time kept by other European Countries. This was not good for the school children of Scotland as it meant they had to always go to School in the dark. The experiment was eventually abandoned in 1972, Britain has kept GMT in winter and BST in summer.

 

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