Winter is a homebody’s ultimate favorite season. It occurs after the shedding of leaves in autumn and before the full bloom of flowers in spring. Winter is also the season of snow and ice. Lakes can now be walked on as they turned into ice because of the frosty temperature. Because of the cold and freezing temperature that comes with winter, everyone would rather prefer to stay indoors, warm their hands in the fireplace, and drink a good hot cup of a chocolate drink. When going outdoors in the winter time, people wear layers and layers of clothing to survive the cold. Jackets, scarves, gloves, and earmuffs are seen everywhere. Winter is definitely a hit or miss, either a person likes it or not, there is no in-between. It is a very fascinating, breathtaking, but challenging time of the year and here are more facts that you might have missed knowing about winter.
Winter and its Elements: Snow and Cold
- Contrary to popular belief, during winter, the Earth is actually at its closest to the sun. This is due to the fact that the earth does not go around in a perfect circle. Thus, one point of the Earth is closest, and the other point is the farthest.
- The coldest temperature to ever be recorded at ground level on Earth was on July 21, 1983, at the Soviet Vostok Station. The temperature recorded a chilling -89.2°C, which is five times more than the temperature in which a human can survive in.
- Much like fingerprints, research says that there is actually no snowflake that has a similar pattern and print. Although scientists have already created two identical artificial snowflakes, an identical natural snowflake is yet to be discovered.
- Talking about snow, one might wonder why when the winter season dissipates, the melting of snow does not cause a massive flood of water. This is because a foot of snow only melts into an inch of water. Moreover, snow usually melts slowly so most drainage systems can handle it with ease. However, this is not to say that snowmelt never caused flooding. Some areas, especially near lakes and creeks, can experience flooding when the snow melts too fast or the drainage system isn’t effective.
Plants Surviving During the Winter
- Another misconception is that nothing grows during winter. Some plants actually bloom only during winter time such as the Acacia, Evergreen, and Carnation. These flowers can survive the freezing and harsh temperature of the dead of winter.
- During winter, organisms such as trees and flowers undergo dormancy. This is a period wherein all their growth and development are put into a halt however, they do not die, they just suspend all physical activity. This is akin to when an animal undergoes hibernation. That is why during winter, all trees shake off leaves so that there are a minimal breakage and a higher chance of survival.
- During the cold spell, plants are also undergoing the process of Vernalization. This is important in order for the flowers to develop seeds that would in return, actually produce more plants. The process simply means that a plant has to be exposed to low temperatures in order for them to stimulate flowering and reproduce.
Winter, Flowers, and Holiday Traditions
- Mistletoes are abundant everywhere during winter time. It is used as a Christmas decoration and tradition says that any person standing under it must be kissed. This traces back to the belief in the Middle Ages that mistletoes promote strong fertility and has an aphrodisiacal effect. But, be careful because variations of berries of mistletoes are actually poisonous.
- Another plant that plays an important role during the winter holidays is the Holly Tree. Like its contemporary, the red berries of the Holly are poisonous as well. This plant is a favorite decoration for the Christmas season because of its strong colors of red berries and green leaves. The use of Holly Tree during Christmas traces back to Celtic mythology because it symbolizes peace and goodwill.
- Reindeers are also considered to be symbols of Christmas. They are most likely known because of the fictional red-nosed reindeer named Rudolph. They are also famous because they are known to drive Santa’s carriage, who is the most popular symbol of Christmas. But reindeers are far from fictional and they are not just deer-like creatures. These cute winter animals will actually change their eye color from gold to blue so that they can adapt to the darker season. This will help reindeer to be able to capture more light and see movement in the dark. Their hooves are also adjusted from being soft to the warmer seasons into a hard and sharp variation for them to survive the cold floor and even to break the ice.
Winter is one of the most popular seasons. The falling of snow and the rise in temperature indicates the beginning of the holiday season. It is also considered one of the coziest among the four alongside Autumn. During this time of the year, people like to stay indoors and warm themselves. Pop culture has many classic movies and TV shows that are set in Winter. Classics such as The Shining, Frozen, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Going outdoors can be challenging. You have to wear layers of clothing to brave the cold and muster up the strength to make your way through inches of snow. Other living organisms such as animals and plants also have their own defense mechanisms against the harsh season. That is why one must really prepare themselves when winter is coming.