It's time to say goodbye to beach hopping and sunny weather clothing as summer is finally over. The autumnal equinox that marks the beginning of fall in the Northern Hemisphere will take place at 10:29 p.m. EDT on Monday and while the event is not marked by the same traditions observed in the vernal equinox, it is still crucial to know the effects and eventual changes that will be brought about by the first day of fall.
During the equinox, which occurs on the first day of spring, also known as the vernal equinox, and the first day of fall (autumnal equinox), there are nearly equal lengths of day and night across the world and this is because of the refraction of the sunlight, or the bending of the rays of the sun that causes the sun to appear above the horizon albeit it is in fact below it.
"On the equinox and for several days before and after the equinox, the length of day will range from about 12 hours and six and one-half minutes at the equator, to 12 hours and 8 minutes at 30 degrees latitude, to 12 hours and 16 minutes at 60 degrees latitude," the National Weather Service said.
The new season marks the time when the sun begins to shine less on people who live in the Northern Hemisphere and the changes can be difficult for some individuals. Between one to 10 percent of the population, for instance, experience seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, when the sun sets earlier and this condition is marked by depressive episodes, weight loss or gain, irritability, lack of energy, withdrawal from friends and family and sleepiness during day time.
For individuals with SAD, doctors recommend that they get as much natural daylight possible by taking day walks or sitting near the windows. Engaging in physical exercise and connecting with family and friends are also recommended as well as light therapy, which involves SAD sufferers sitting near an artificial bright light.
The changing seasons are associated with changes in the natural processes on Earth as well and the new season is known to affect the melting and freezing of the sea ice in the Arctic.
"Once you run out of sun, you run out of energy and there is not much the system can do. You are going to start freezing up," said National Snow and Ice Data Center Mark Serreze.