This past weekend was Daylight Savings, a biannual tradition that almost no one seems to like. But is there any benefit to Daylight Savings?
A cartographer named Andy Woodruff decided to create some maps that show why Daylight Savings time is actually terrible. He looked up data and charted where in the United States people experience reasonable sunrises and sunsets. Woodruff defined a reasonable sunrise as occurring before 7 a.m., so people could experience sunlight before going to work. Likewise, he defined reasonable sunset as occurring after 5 p.m., so people could experience it after work. Here's what he found:
As you can see, there are large chunks of the country that do not get very many sunrises before 7 a.m., most of which are located in the western parts of their respective time zones. And while most places get a pretty high number of sunsets after five p.m., ideally you'd want it to be higher.
But the question is how would this change if Daylight Saving was abolished. Well, Woodruff looked at that as well and this is what he found:
The sunset times are basically the same whether there is Daylight Saving or not. But the sunrises are pretty different. Whereas areas like West Texas or Michigan were dark purple in the first map, meaning they have almost no days with sunrises before 7 a.m., in the second map they're more orange. So abolishing Daylight Saving would have almost no effect on when sunset times, but a much better effect on sunrise times.
By the way, Woodruff also looked at what would happen if we kept Daylight Savings in effect for the entire year. Here's what that would look like:
Yes, it would always be nice and sunny when you leave work in this scenario. But there would be almost no days where the sun rises before 7 a.m. in the entire country.
So you can make your own conclusions about how terrible Daylight Savings actually is.