Is it winter yet in UAE? Here's what weather experts say

Some residents have already brought out their jackets and scarves — is the chilly season officially here?

by

Nandini Sircar

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KT file photo
KT file photo

Published: Thu 23 Nov 2023, 12:11 PM

Last updated: Thu 23 Nov 2023, 12:24 PM

Enjoying the cooler breeze these days, thinking winter is finally here? Well, not yet. Winter months in the UAE will officially start only after December 21.

Dr Ahmed Habib from the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) told Khaleej Times that winter in the UAE usually begins around the third week of December, approximately 100 days after the appearance of the Suhail star in August.

The Suhail star, a common name (in the Arab world) for several stars often observed near the southern horizon, marks this seasonal shift towards winter.

This signals the beginning of the chilliest phase, with temperatures notably dropping and winter’s hold tightening.

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“We are still experiencing the autumn season and the winter season will commence after December 21. Both autumn and winter seasons in the UAE bring rainfall all the way till March. During this phase, the country is affected by an extension of surface low pressure along with a jet stream (narrow bands of strong wind that generally blow across the globe) from the West.”

In less than a month, on December 22, the winter solstice marks the onset of the Northern hemisphere’s cold season, lasting for three months.

What is winter solstice?

The winter solstice signifies the point at which one hemisphere of the Earth is angled farthest from the sun. Typically occurring on either December 21 or 22, this event happens at the exact moment globally. Due to reduced sunlight reaching the Earth, the winter solstice is acknowledged as the year's shortest day.

When does UAE experience peak winter?

The Emirates Astronomy Society earlier indicated that this upcoming winter will peak around mid-January, bringing notably frigid conditions with temperatures expected to drop below 5 °C, particularly in mountainous regions.

According to experts, this period in mid-January marks the pinnacle of the winter season in the Gulf heritage calendar within the Al Drour system.

This period usually lasts for 10 days, and it is described as the period of ‘severe cold’.

According to a previous WAM report, Ibrahim Al Jarwan, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Astronomical Society, said this period is when winter in the Arabian Peninsula region reaches its peak with temperatures dropping to their lowest, reaching below 5 °C in the desert and dipping below 0°C in high mountainous areas.

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