Ras Al Khaimah’s Jebel Jais mountain range blanketed by snow in 2017. Image Credit: WAM/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Get your jackets out as the coldest time of the year starts Sunday morning. 

UAE will be affected by colder weather starting from December 22 at exactly 8.19 am, Sharjah-based astronomer and meteorologist Ebrahim Al Jarwan told Gulf News a few days ago.

“December 22 marks the winter solstice, which is when we will have the shortest day and the longest night of the year. After that, the days will gradually get longer, and the nights shorter,” he said.

The December solstice occurs around the world at the same time. This year, the solstice takes place on Sunday December 22, 2019 at 4.19 am UTC (Coordinated Universal Time).

People gather at Stonehenge England to celebrate the Winter Solstice Image Credit: AP

The event marks the start of winter in the northern hemisphere and summer in the southern hemisphere, and is the shortest day of the year.

The winter solstice happens every year when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.4 degrees, which is why we receive such few hours of daylight.

Al Jarwan explained that UAE residents will see new moons appear on December 26, and then in 2020 on January 25 and February 23.

“The UAE will also witness a solar eclipse, which is when the moon passes in front of the sun, on December 26. This is the first time in 172 years that this type of eclipse will be seen in the UAE,” he said.

The solar eclipse is known as a ‘Ring of Fire’ because only the edges of the sun will protrude around the moon; the event, will be fully visible only in the Gharbia or Liwa region of Abu Dhabi, whereas the rest of the country will experience varying degrees of a partial eclipse.

An eclipse. Image Credit: Reuters

The solar eclipse will last almost two and a half hours and at its peak, will cover a maximum 91.93 per cent of its face, which will only last two minutes 47 seconds from 7.35am to 7.38am, for those watching in Liwa.

“During the peak of the cold season, the desert and mountain region will be the most affected as temperatures may descend to 5 °C in January. Temperatures will start to rise by March, and that is when we usually see strong winds and storms, with strong waves in the Arabian Sea,” said Al Jarwan.

The average temperature at the beginning of the cold season ranges from lows of 12 °C to highs of 25 °C, and as Spring approaches in mid-March, the average temperature is expected to range from 18 °C to 32 °C.