The cities of the world with the most and fewest daylight hours
There are places where the sun barely shines… and others in which it shines too much. Luckily electricity saves the day, providing light where it is needed and cooling the atmosphere if it gets too hot.
When it is cold you use to dream about the sun, the beach, warmth…
But can you imagine a place with 365 sunny days a year?
In some cities there is too much sun and in others it barely shines. We review the places with most and least sunlight hours.
Places in the world with the most daylight hours
1. Yuma (USA)
According to the World Meteorological Organization, Yuma (Arizona) is the sunniest place on earth. It has a total of 11 hours of sunlight in winter and up to 13 in summer. This means Yuma experiences an average of 4,015 hours of sunshine per year.
At first this sounds fantastic. But it really isn’t that pleasant, since its 90,000+ inhabitants have to combat an arid climate, typical of the Sonora desert, which it forms part of.
Rainfall does not exceed 200mm per year and temperatures exceed 40°C practically 100 days per year. It is a furnace that would leave you wishing for a winter’s rainy afternoon.
2. Phoenix (USA)
You don’t have to go too far to find the second sunniest place on earth. Phoenix, the capital, the largest city of Arizona, takes second place, with 3.872 hours of sunshine per year.
It is commonly knowns as the "the Valley of the Sun" (so original...) and it has a population of approximately one and a half million. Clear skies are common here, with an average of 300 days of sunlight per year.
But as with its neighbour Yuma, its hot days are what it is famous for. Phoenix reaches 38°C, 89 days per year, particularly in June and September. It often exceeds temperatures of 40ºC and in 1990 it reached its own record of 50°C.
3. Aswan (Egypt)
From America, we will now go across to the African continent, specifically the Nile basin. Located in the south of Egypt, Aswan is the sunniest city in Africa, with 10.6 hours of sunlight per day and around 3,863 hours per year.
Here lies the ancient city of Elephantine, which was an important site until the Hellenistic period as it was next to the first waterfall, a natural border controlling the routes of the south of Egypt.
“The least sunny city in the world is in Norway and spends 6 months a year in the dark..”
The places in the world with the fewest daylight hours
1. Rjukan (Noruega)
Imagine a little village located in a valley to the south of Norway, surrounded by mountains. Approximately 170 kilometres from Oslo, Rjukan is one of the most singular places in the world.
Its natural beauty is also its worst feature, since it is because of this geographical location that Rjukan does not receive a single drop of sunlight for 6 months of the year. From September to March the mountains make it impossible for the rays of sun.
But this situation changed a couple of years ago. After a century spending six months of the year in semi-darkness, in 2013, 3 heliostat mirrors were installed, which move and rotate on a specific axis, to capture the sunlight. Its tracking system enables them to track the sun depending on the height thereof and reflect sunlight downwards to the main square, where the inhabitants of Rjukan can feel a little bit of sun on their faces while they chat to their neighbours.
2. Barrow (USA)
We return to North America to visit Barrow, located in the extreme north point of Alaska. It is the most northerly point of the Unites States and a significant geographical landmark, marking the limits between two of the marginal seas of the Arctic Ocean: the Chukchi and the Beaufort.
It recently changed its name to Utqiaġvik, with the aim of honouring the indigenous tribes and the inuit ethnic origin of the area, particularly the Thule culture.
Barrow became famous thanks to the movie “30 days of night”, where a group of vampires take advantage of its extended hours of darkness.
Barrow can go two months without seeing any sunlight, because it is located just a few hundred kilometres from the Arctic Polar Circle. Perhaps to compensate for this, Barrow experiences what is knowns as “midnight sun”, when the king of the sky comes out in May and it won’t set again for 3 months.
3. Tórshavn (Faroe Islands)
The capital of the Faroe Islands, Tórshavn, is not suitable for those that feel the cold. Here, in the middle of the North Atlantic, between the Scottish coast and Iceland, is an archipelago battered by strong winds and where fog and cloudy skies are commonplace.
Tórshavn only sees around 37 days of sunshine per year, averaging around 840 hours per year. The rest of the time you best wrap up: average temperatures don’t reach 7°C.
“Madrid, Valencia and Seville are around 2,900 hours of annual sunshine. Barcelona: 2,400.”