Monday, February 18, 2008

Daylight saving time

Well, well, well. This a hot topic in Argentina, something extremely normal in any other serious country, and still I don't understand why we don't accept this at once. A short overview: Argentina started in late December 2007 to apply a daylight saving time scheme, which just consists in moving the clock one hour forward. In mid March, the clock will be set at the conventional time zone.

Argentina uses as conventional time zone the GMT-3 which is theoretically within the parallels 45°W to 60°W. Unfortunately, Argentina ranges from 52°W (in Misiones province) to 73°W (south in Santa Cruz province). The country has a very nice conic shape, and it more or less fits in those parallels. This means, we only have a correct time to the east of the parallel 60°W, which is if you look at the map, crossing the cities of Santa Fé or Rosario. Therefore, geographically we should have the time zone GMT-4 because most of the territory fits in there, or rather, have two different time zones.

I don't think that having two times zones would help: the country will be divided in two zones, something that is a hassle. The most "democratic" (and geographically) correct solution would be to switch all the country into the GMT-4 and the problem is over! An intermediate solution might be to adopt the GMT-3:30 zone.

However, if you look at the number of inhabitants that are inside the GMT-3 zone, things change a lot. Cities as Buenos Aires, Santa Fé, Rosario, all the litoral, and the east of Buenos Aires will be included in there. Therefore, most than 60% of the population of the country. From this prospective I see quite logical that the entire country binds to this. It is even possible to include more than 80% if we just consider the 65°W parallel, which is reasonable as error in the time zone (see below).

And this is not silly at all. Just taking a look to the European map you will see it. Spain is mainly into the GMT time zone. However because some other things, to maintain the proximity with the rest of the continent, they adopt the GMT+1 as the rest of the continent. Portugal, however, doesn't think in the same way.

Independently of this, the thing is that in all this countries adopting the daylight saving time is made in order to get that: save daylight, and therefore save money which otherwise would be spent in having the lights turned on one more hour in the evening.

In Argentina, instead of taking it so easy, we make more complicated than it is. An entire province in the middle of the country for mere political reasons just decided to go back to the normal non-daylight saving time. If they would be coherent, they would have to go one hour further back in winter. But they won't.

But now, reading a local radio web page, it turns out that a village (less than 1000 inhabitants) in the middle of Salta province has decided to go back the clock as well. LOL, that is all what I can do...

In summary: I think that having GMT-3 as normal time is not that hazard as many people say, on the contrary it indeed helps to take advantage of the daylight very well, not only from a energetic prospective, but also from your normal life. The fact that it is night one hour later means that you have one hour of daylight for you.

* Countries and the DST

(en castellano):
* Buena reseña en el blog de Adrián: Cambio de horario (por eso ni me gasto en la traducción al español de este post :P)


Adrian said...

es interesante como se ve en el mapa que pusiste que la mayoría de los países desarrollados (creo que japón no, según lo que se ve) usan horario de verano; mientras que la mayoría de los subdesarrollados no.
Ah! Buenos Aires, Córdoba y Rosario están en GTM-4 (entre 52º,5 y 67º,5), no GTM-3 (entre 37º,5 y 52º,5). Y Cuyo y la mayoría de la Patagonia en GTM-5. Esto porque el huso horario 0, tiene su centro en los 0º (7º.5 para cada lado)

José said...

Sí es verdad, lo pensé antes de subir el post. En este caso, resulta que toda la parte continental de Europa occidental estaría en GMT. Si se usara ese huso horario, en invierno aquí se haría de noche a las 3pm...

Pero en fin, usar un huso con horario adelantado tiene como efecto que se haga de noche más tarde, y eso es lo que en nuestro país más conviene.

Si usáramos GMT-4 quiere decir que se haría de noche (en Salta, cerca del trópico) a las 17:40 en invierno, así que no lo veo tan bueno que digamos. En este caso amanecería a las 6:15.

En definitiva, me parece que cada país "acomoda" el huso horario a su gusto, conveniencia y paladar. Si es que el huso actual en Argentina significa ahorro como se pretende, enhorabuena.

De última, se tendría que buscar generar la suficiente cantidad de energía para que alcance, y no andar distrayéndonos con este tipo de discusiones, ¿no?

Anonymous said...

Me parece muy logico lo que pusiste, creo que para ahorrar energía deberíamos aprovechar las horas de dia para trabajar al máximo y así sacarle ayudar a que el país avance. Yo creo que en este momento, todo esto se hace por un tema político nada más. GABY