Why all this talk about sunshine

As the dreary post-Christmas winter settles upon us here in Düsseldorf, I’m sure I will start complaining about the weather again. While I’ve been lucky and haven’t had to ride my bike in the rain in a while, my biggest point of contention is still the lack of sunshine for what feels like days (and sometimes weeks) on end.

Nice people who can’t fully fathom my climate-related distress are always trying to pep me up with statements like, “but it’s so nice to be inside and cozy and warm while it’s gray outside,” or “cloudy days make you appreciate the sunny ones that much more” (see more here). Oh, you poor people, I always say…

To put my obsession with sunshine and generally good weather into perspective, I grew up in the second sunniest place on the face of the planet, really. www.currentresults.com says so.

And, while researching sunshine stats, I also ran across this on weatherspark.com: “The median cloud cover [in Düsseldorf] is 85% (mostly cloudy) and does not vary substantially over the course of the year. On June 17, the clearest day of the year, the sky is clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 17% of the time, and overcast or mostly cloudy 40% of the time.”

Numbers don’t lie. I’m not crazy after all.

And a final word, for all you pepper-uppers, “Düsseldorf has…no dry season.” (weatherspark.com)

Average hours of sunshine for the ten sunniest places on earth
Country Place Year Day
United States Yuma, Arizona 4015 11.0
United States Phoenix, Arizona 3872 10.6
Egypt Asswan 3863 10.6
United States Las Vegas, Nevada 3825 10.5
Sudan Dongola 3814 10.4
United States Tucson, Arizona 3806 10.4
Chad Faya-Largeau 3792 10.4
Egypt Kharga 3791 10.4
Sudan Abu Hamed 3763 10.3
United States El Paso, Texas 3763 10.3

For a rainy day

Here I go again, talking about the weather. I can’t help it. It permeates every minute of my day, every cell in my body, every fiber in my down jacket. It always has. I just didn’t realize it until I moved to Düsseldorf – while Phoenix has its own weather, it always played more of a supporting role.

In Düsseldorf, on average, no month has less than 14 days of rain. 14 days! Compare that to Phoenix, where, on average, no month has more than 5 days of rain. What was it that Dorothy said about not being in Kansas anymore…?

So, in the spirit of open-mindedness and adaptation, I polled some friends and compiled a list of what there is to like about gray, rainy weather:

  • always having something to talk about
  • drinking coffee or hot chocolate, which tastes even better on a cold, rainy day
  • the wrinkle-fighting benefits of moist air
  • taking advantage of a free bike wash
  • jumping in the puddles with rubber boots (and the kids)
  • the promise of a beautiful, green spring
  • the beauty of big, fat raindrops seemingly made especially for us
  • clean, fresh city air
  • staying home where it’s warm and cozy
  • having a good excuse to stay on the couch on a Sunday
  • going for a refreshing walk in the rain
  • really appreciating a beautiful day when you get one