Categories:
Time zones
Authored by: Sean  

It is not the same time everywhere in the world! Apart from the fact that only half of our earth sees daylight while the other one goes through night, there are also different time zones in the world. There are time zones by country and also “specialized” time zones such as the ones that are followed by the military and so on. So what are time zones all about? Well, a time zone is nothing but a particular geographical area that follows a particular time because it makes sense on a business and personal front.

 

For the scope of this discussion, we shall limited to time zones on land. This is rather easy to explain because all the time zones on land originate from UTC which is nothing but Co-ordinated Universal Time. The different time zones are known as a time offset and can either be added to or subtracted from the UTC. For instance, +01 UTC may denote Berlin.

 

Image – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_UTC_time_offsets

 

 

From here, time zones in certain countries may also differ if they are observing something known as DST or daylight saving time. Not all countries use this concept but it essentially means that the country sets all its clocks earlier to give a feeling of more daylight in the winter months! Almost on the same lines of the UTC is the GMT or Greenwich Mean Time which is also a global time standard. International time zones can also be defined according to the International Date Line which is actually an imaginary line but it runs from the North Pole to the South Pole, as opposed to the Prime Meridian. While the Prime Meridian is used to define the UTC, the International Dateline defines a change of dates or days of the calendar when one crosses over it.

 

 

Image – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Prime_meridian_(HU).jpg

 

 

Given the rise in the use of atomic timekeeping, we must talk about International Atomic Time, and since it is a French term, it is abbreviated to TAI. The TAI is actually the foundation for the UTC. Considering the fact that it is a highly precise coordinate, the world should be happy that it is the basis for all time zones at the end of the day.

 

Some countries will also take a rather radical step in order to ensure that its economy gets a boost. A couple of years or so ago, Samoa actually skipped from 29 December straight to 31 December which allowed the country not just to leap a day but also put it 3 hours ahead of Sydney with whom Samoa does a lot of business. This antipodean shift was dictated almost completely by economic sensibilities.

 

There are plenty of other terms associated with time zones such as EST, IST and PST. These are probably the “lesser-known citizens” when it comes to talking about global time zones.  While there is no denying the fact that time is never the same all over the world, these globally accepted time zones do go a long way in fostering commercial, political and even social and personal interactions.

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