Day Length

Day length varies with the time of year and the latitude at which you are situated. Because of the earth's tilt, areas above the Arctic Circle receive 24 hours of sunlight each summer, but 24 hours of darkness each winter. Don't let the long cold winters that most people associate with the arctic fool you. Some places in the arctic are very sunny. In fact, Yellowknife has more sunshine annually than anywhere in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, or the Maritime provinces. In fact, it receives only marginally less sunshine than a few of Canada's sunniest towns in Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. The intensity of solar radiation is much lower in the Arctic than in temperate or tropical regions because of the low elevation of the sun in the sky. However, for a few days each summer, more sunlight falls in some locations of the High Arctic than on the equator. The light arrives over a 24 hour period rather than the 12 hour day at the equator.

The day length in the third week of each month is shown below for the North Pole, locations on the Arctic Circle, and a point halfway between these locations. The North Pole receives 163 days of total darkness and 187 days of midnight sun each year. By contrast, locales on the Arctic Circle receive just 30 days of midnight sun.

       
Date 90°N (North Pole) 78.3°N (Mid-way) 66.6°N (Arctic Circle)
       
January 21 No Sun No Sun 4:55 Sun
February 21 No Sun 4:41 Sun 8:52 Sun
March 20 Sun All Day 12:35 Sun 12:18 Sun
April 21 Sun All Day Sun All Day 16:16 Sun
May 21 Sun All Day Sun All Day 20:25 Sun
June 21 Sun All Day Sun All Day Sun All Day
July 21 Sun All Day Sun All Day 20:37 Sun
August 21 Sun All Day Sun All Day 16:23 Sun
September Sun All Day 12:35 Sun 12:18 Sun
October 21 No Sun 4:27 Sun 8:48 Sun
November 21 No Sun No Sun 4:53 Sun
December 22 No Sun No Sun 2:11 Sun
  187 days of 24 hour sunlight 126 days of 24 hour sunlight 30 days of 24 hour sunlight
  163 days of 24 hour darkness 94 days of 24 hour darkness