View the high resolution of this infographic by clicking here

While we all see the same sky, we see it a bit differently depending on where we stand.

For those in the planet’s most extreme regions, the sun doesn’t follow the same pattern of seasons as it does in more temperate regions.

Today’s visualization comes from Sleepopolis and summarizes the top cities on each continent that receive the most and least annual sunshine hours.

Ranked: Cities with the Least and Most Sunshine Hours

While the graphic groups the top five cities from each continent, the tables below highlight the top 10 cities from around the world that boast the highest and lowest annual sunshine hours.

Top 10 Cities with the Most Annual Sunshine

City Country Climate # of Sunshine Hours
Yuma United States Arid 4,015.3
Marsa Alam Egypt Arid 3,958.0
Dakhla Oasis Egypt Arid 3,943.4
Calama Chile Arid, Marine West Coast, Tundra 3,926.2
Phoenix United States Arid 3,871.6
Keetmanshoop Namibia Arid 3,870.0
Las Vegas United States Arid 3,825.3
Tucson United States Arid 3,806.0
Kharga Egypt Arid 3,790.8
El Paso United States Semiarid 3,762.5

The sunniest city on Earth is Yuma, Arizona in the U.S. As the driest city in the U.S., Yuma receives less than 200 millimeters (8 inches) of rainfall and endures roughly 100 days of 40°C (104°F) weather every year. Yuma lies between the Gila and Colorado rivers, in a lush region that produces almost 90% of leafy vegetables grown in the U.S.

Arizona boasts three of the top 10 sunniest cities in the world, including Phoenix in the fifth spot, which is the 5th most populous city in the U.S. and is known as “the Valley of the Sun”.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Egypt also has three cities in the top 10 list, with Marsa Alam, Dakhla Oasis, and Kharga claiming the 2nd, 3rd, and 9th sunniest spots, respectively. Dakhla Oasis, or “inner oasis”, receives practically zero precipitation each year.

Top 10 Cities with the Least Annual Sunshine

City Country Climate # of Sunshine Hours
Totoró Colombia Marine West Coast 637.0
Tórshavn Faroe Islands Marine West Coast 840.0
Chongqing China Humid Subtropical 954.8
Dikson Russia Tundra 1,164.3
Malabo Equatorial Guinea Tropical Wet and Dry 1,176.7
Buenaventura Colombia Tropical Wet and Dry, Humid Subtropical 1,178.0
Lima Peru Arid 1,230.0
Ushuaia Argentina Tundra 1,281.2
Reykjavik Iceland Tundra, Marine West Coast 1,326.0
Bogotá Colombia Marine West Coast 1,328.0

Although perceived as a sunny location, Colombia borders both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, exposing it to higher variety in weather patterns and precipitation. Colombia alone is home to three of the top 10 cities with the lowest hours of annual sunshine.

Ranking second-to-last in the number of sunshine hours, Torshavn lies between the Scottish coast and Iceland and receives roughly 37 days of sunshine every year; the average temperatures on this island barely reach above 5°C (41°F).

Our sun doesn’t shine at the same level of brightness all the time. NASA has observed that the sun goes through “solar cycles” that last roughly 11 years─brightening and dimming at relatively regular intervals and impacting how intensely we receive sunlight at any given time.

Sunshine Near the Poles

Humans typically need exposure to the sun to maintain healthy sleep habits, as our brain has been hardwired to follow natural waking and sleeping rhythms.

However, several cities experience no sun at all for several months at a time in what’s known as the “Polar Night”.

  • Tromsø, Norway: winter darkness is enjoyed rather than endured, as it can last for over a month
  • Svalbard, Norway: even indirect sunlight is absent, with no change in sunlight to help indicate a 24-hour day
  • Dikson, Russia: receives no sunlight whatsoever in December

Wherever you live, people have been watching and tracking the movements of the sun with rapt attention for millennia, even when we couldn’t see it.

First published on the Visual Capitalist. Link to the original article.

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