Does a February 29 “leap day” have any consequences for our weather?

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Dear Tom,

We had a February 29, “leap day,” this year. Does that have any consequences for our weather?


Jimmy Orband,
Bensonville

Dear Jimmy,
It does not, at least as far as our day-to-day weather is concerned. The addition of a 366th day to the year every four years is a bookkeeping technique whose purpose is to keep our calendar in synchronization with the seasons. In actuality, the Earth circles the sun in 365.2425 days and not precisely 365 days, according to astronomers. An annual calendar based entirely on a 365-day year slips out of synchronization with the Earth’s revolution about the sun (and consequently out of synchronization with the annual march of the seasons) at the rate of one day approximately every four years. In roughly 730 years, our summer would fall in the months of December, January and February. The addition of one day every four years provides a near-perfect solution.

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