European Union to Set Clocks Ahead Sunday for 2016 Summer Time

By Jesse Sokolow on 24 March 2016
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In the European Union, Summer Time (called British Summer Time or BST in the United Kingdom, and Sommerzeit in Austria and Germany) will start this Sunday at 1:00 a.m. GMT.  At this time, clocks should be set ahead by one hour across the continent.

The change will put both sides of the Atlantic back in sync with one another after a two-week period that followed the switch to Daylight Saving Time, which took place on March 13 in most of the United States and parts of Canada.

Summer Time will end on October 30, 2016 and resume on March 26, 2017.  Daylight Saving Time in the United States and Canada will end on November 6, 2016 and resume on March 12, 2017. Summer Time is a tradition observed in all European countries except for Russia, Belarus, and Iceland. Indeed, Russia permanently switched to Winter Time two Octobers ago while adding two new time zones, giving the country a total of 11.

The concept of Summer, or Daylight Saving Time, was conceived to manage the changing amounts of daylight that occur during the year, with the goal being to maximize the hours of sunlight during the typical workday. The underlying concept was first proposed in 1784 by Benjamin Franklin, who believed it would save an “immense sum.” It was not broadly adopted until the early twentieth century when the U.S. temporarily enacted Daylight Saving Time as an energy-saving measure.

By adjusting clocks ahead by one hour, people generally have more daylight available during the workday. For example, in the case of someone who typically wakes up at 7:00 a.m., the individual would have to rise at 6:00 a.m. if they wished to take advantage of the additional daylight, since in the spring the sun rises earlier each day. Instead, by moving the clock ahead by one hour, that person can continue to wake up at 7:00 a.m. and enjoy more daylight in the early evening hours.

In order to avoid problems with Summer Time, European travelers should remember to set their watches and analog clocks one hour forward, as well as any computer, smartphone, or other electronic device that does not adjust automatically, on Saturday before retiring.

Most of Asia, Africa, and South America do not observe Daylight Saving Time at all.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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