Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Daylight Saving Time

UK Daylight Saving Time or more commonly known as British Summer Time (BST)

Folks back home always ask about the time difference between Malaysia and the UK. It is hard sometimes for ones who have never experienced the time change their whole life to comprehend the time change. I am going to try to explain it in simpler terms.

Twice a year, the clock is tuned either forward or backward during the last Sunday in March and last Sunday in October. During the Last Sunday in March of every year, the clock is tuned to one hour forward at 1am. If you have your TV or computer on, the clock will magically skip forward to 2am bringing us to GMT +1 timezone. However, this does not apply to your "standalone" clock at home which are not tied to a time server.

The clock will stay at this GMT +1 timezone until the Last Sunday of October. Again, at 2am of the last Sunday of October, the clock will move backward to 1am bringing it back to GMT +0.

The cycle will repeat itself year on year every March and October.

So this weekend is the last Sunday of October, the clock will switch backward by 1 hour for us in the UK.

Since 1996 all member states of the European Union change their clocks on the same date at 1am GMT. DST or BST first began in 1916 with a mandate from parliament.

This time change, however, differs for Continent of Northern America. The time-change for US Continents happen on the 2nd Sunday of March and 1st Sunday of November instead.

So is it simple enough to understand? Or am I still too technical in the explanation? :)

For further reference, check this out http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/index.html

Rationale and original idea

The main purpose of Daylight Saving Time (called "Summer Time" in many places in the world) is to make better use of daylight. We change our clocks during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening.

If you live near the equator, day and night are nearly the same length (12 hours). But elsewhere on Earth, there is much more daylight in the summer than in the winter. The closer you live to the North or South Pole, the longer the period of daylight in the summer. Thus, Daylight Saving Time (Summer Time) is usually not helpful in the tropics, and countries near the equator generally do not change their clocks.

A poll conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation indicated that Americans liked Daylight Saving Time because "there is more light in the evenings / can do more in the evenings." A 1976 survey of 2.7 million citizens in New South Wales, Australia, found 68% liked daylight saving.

Indeed, some say that the primary reason that Daylight Saving Time is a part of many societies is simply because people like to enjoy long summer evenings, and that reasons such as energy conservation are merely rationalizations.


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