SYRACUSE (WSYR-TV) — Even though the first day of summer is usually around June 20th/21st, why do we not feel the dog days of summer until later in July and August?

This phenomena is called the “lag of the seasons”.

Summer officially begins Sunday June 20th at 11:32 p.m. It’s when the sun’s rays are the most direct over the Tropic of Cancer and the Northern Hemisphere has the most amount of daylight.

However, this is not when our temperatures are at they’re warmest.

The warmest temperatures of the year in Central New York and Northern Hemisphere don’t usually occur until later July or early August. Think of it this way…The sun is at it’s highest point in the sky each day at noon, but the warmest/hottest temperature doesn’t typically occur until around 4 or 5 in the afternoon during the warm season. Why is that? It’s because the incoming solar radiation (energy) is exceeding the outgoing energy being by the earth’s surface.

Here’s another explanation. When you head to your favorite beach to swim which month are you more apt to be more comfortable in the lake/ocean? June or August? August, right? That’s because it takes more time for the water to heat up compared to land due to a higher specific heat, or simply put it takes more solar (heat) energy to heat up water compared to land. The majority of earth is consists of water (over 70%) so once those lakes and ocean waters have warmed up more so temperatures are typically warmer too.