Latitudinal trends in human primary activities: characterizing the winter day as a synchronizer

Maria Martin-Olalla, Jose

VL / 8 - BP / - EP /
This work analyzes time use surveys from 19 countries (17 European and 2 American) in the middle latitude (38-61 degree) accounting for 45% of world population in this range. Time marks for primary activities are contrasted against light/dark conditions. The analysis reveals winter sunrise synchronizes labor start time below 54 degree, occurring within winter civil twilight. Winter sunset is a source of synchronization for labor end times. Winter terminator punctuate meal times in Europe: dinner occurs 3 h after winter sunset time within 1 h; 40% narrower than variability of dinner local times. The sleep-wake cycle of laborers is shown to be related to winter sunrise whereas standard population's appears to be irrespective of latitude. The significance of the winter terminator depends on two competing factors average labor time (similar to 7 h 30 m) and the shortest photoperiod. Winter terminator gains significance when both roughly matches. That is within a latitude range from 38 degree to 54 degree. The significance of winter terminator as a source of synchronization is also related to contemporary year round time schedules: the shortest photoperiod represents the worst case scenario the society faces.

Access level

Gold DOAJ, Green published