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Jordan marks winter solstice amid exceptionally warm weather

By Hana Namrouqa - Dec 20,2017 - Last updated at Dec 20,2017

AMMAN — As Thursday marks the winter solstice and the start of marbaniyeh in Jordan, temperatures will be eight degrees above their annual average for this time of the year, according to the Jordan Meteorological Department (JMD).

The sun on Thursday will rise at 6:32am and set at 4:36pm, marking the shortest day of the year at 10 hours and three minutes. Night will be 13 hours and 57 minutes long, the JMD said.

Following the first day of winter, days will start to become longer and nights shorter, until they become equal again on March 20, which is the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, according to the JMD.

In Jordan, winter solstice coincides with the start of marbaniyeh, the local name given to the 40 coldest days of winter, when the country typically witnesses several depressions, while average temperatures in the capital range at 13.7ºC and below, head of the weather forecasting department at the JMD, Raed Rafed, said on Wednesday.

Multiple depressions, very cold weather, and cold and dry easterly winds are characteristics of marbaniyeh, during which several frost spells take hold of the country due to the around-zero temperatures and very cold easterly winds, according to the JMD.

Heavy rain and occasional snow may fall during this period in the event of a wet air mass accompanied by northwesterly to westerly winds, according to the department.

The Kingdom usually gets 30 per cent of its long-term annual average rainfall of 8.3 billion cubic metres during marbaniyeh, according to the JMD, which said that it ends on January 30.

“The fact that marbaniyeh will start with temperatures higher than the annual average for this time of the year by eight degrees is not necessarily a pessimistic indicator on the performance of this wet season,” Rafed told The Jordan Times.

He cited statistics by the JMD that showed that out of the past 95 winters, precipitation levels by the time marbaniyeh started were less than the annual average in 40 wet seasons.

“Out of the 40 winters, precipitation levels by the start of marbaniyeh were less than the annual average, rain amounts became around or higher than the annual average by the end of the wet season in 17 winters,” Rafed said.

The aforementioned data indicates that it is usual for the country to witness warm weather during autumn and winter, he said, highlighting that, while it is true that rain levels are “bad” so far, the wet season ends in May and there is time for improvement in terms of precipitation levels.


Rafed underlined that, as of Sunday, temperatures will drop back to their annual average for this time of the year, noting that a depression will bring rain on Sunday and Monday.

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