Time in Iceland

Last updated

Time in Iceland
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time
InitialsGMT
UTC offset UTC±00:00
Central meridian 65th parallel north (UTC−01:00)
Time notation 24-hour clock
Adopted7 April 1968
Daylight saving time
DST not observed
tz database
Atlantic/Reykjavik
Time in Europe:
Western European Time / Greenwich Mean Time (UTC)
Western European Time / Greenwich Mean Time (UTC)
Western European Summer Time / British Summer Time / Irish Standard Time (UTC+1)
Central European Time (UTC+1)
Central European Summer Time (UTC+2)
Eastern European Time / Kaliningrad Time (UTC+2)
Eastern European Time (UTC+2)
Eastern European Summer Time (UTC+3)
Moscow Time / Turkey Time (UTC+3)
### pale colours: standard time observed all year;
### dark colours: summer time observed Time zones of Europe.svg
Time in Europe :
Western European Time / Greenwich Mean Time (UTC)
Western European Time / Greenwich Mean Time (UTC)
Western European Summer Time / British Summer Time / Irish Standard Time (UTC+1)
Central European Time (UTC+1)
Central European Summer Time (UTC+2)
Eastern European Time / Kaliningrad Time (UTC+2)
Eastern European Time (UTC+2)
Eastern European Summer Time (UTC+3)
Moscow Time / Turkey Time (UTC+3)
 pale colours: standard time observed all year;
 dark colours: summer time observed

Iceland observes UTC±00:00 year-round, known as Greenwich Mean Time or Western European Time. UTC±00:00 was adopted on 7 April 1968 – in order for Iceland to be in sync with Europe – replacing UTC−01:00, which had been the standard time zone since 16 November 1907. Iceland previously observed daylight saving time, moving the clock forward one hour, between 1917 and 1921, and 1939 and 1968. The start and end dates varied, as decided by the government. Between 1941 and 1946, daylight saving time commenced on the first Sunday in March and ended in late October, and between 1947 and 1967 it commenced on the first Sunday in April, in all instances since 1941 occurring and ending at 02:00. Since 1994, there have been an increasing number of proposals made to the Althing to reintroduce daylight saving time for a variety of reasons, but all such proposals and resolutions have been rejected.

Contents

Most of Iceland lies within the geographical UTC−01:00 offset, including the capital Reykjavík, while the westernmost points of Iceland located west of 22.5° West, including Ísafjörður, lie within the geographical UTC−02:00 offset. Despite this, Iceland observes UTC±00:00 in order to be in sync with Europe, which results in noon being 88 minutes behind other countries in the same offset. Health experts have argued that this gives Icelandic teenagers social jet lag as the daylight is a misalignment of biological and social time, which consequently results in detrimental health effects. Despite this, however, the government released a statement in 2020 announcing they will not be switching time zones.

History

As Iceland has no international borders nor a railway system, there was no need for a standard time zone across the country. Cities and localities in Iceland were free to pick to observe any time zone they wished, usually based on their mean solar time. This changed at the beginning of the 20th century, with the foundation of Iceland's national telephone company, Landssíminn, in 1906, which allowed for near real-time communication. Accordingly, a law was passed in the Althing on 16 November 1907 stipulating that UTC−01:00 be adopted as the national time zone of Iceland. This was chosen as the majority of Iceland, and particularly the capital Reykjavík, is geographically located within said offset. [1] [2]

Daylight saving time, which moved the clock forward one hour to UTC±00:00, was first attempted between 1917 and 1921. [2] The start and end dates varied, as decided by the government. [3] Daylight saving time was again reintroduced between 1939 and 1968. [2] Between 1941 and 1946, daylight saving time commenced on the first Sunday in March and ended in late October, and between 1947 and 1967 it commenced on the first Sunday in April. In all instances since 1941, daylight saving time commenced at 02:00 and ended at 02:00. [3]

Abolishment of daylight saving time and adoption of UTC±00:00

In 1968, astronomers Traustur Einarsson and Þorsteinn Sæmundsson from the University of Iceland made a proposal to the Althing to abolish daylight saving time and adopt UTC±00:00 year-round. [4] They argued that the observation of daylight saving time confused the scheduling times of aircraft in international flights, caused unnecessary work as all clocks had to be reset, disrupted people's sleep patterns – especially infants – and in general caused confusion, irritation and extra hassle to Icelanders. [5] They were not arguing against UTC±00:00, however, but rather against the moving of clocks back and forth as it created the aforementioned inconveniences. Thus, they proposed observing UTC±00:00 year-round as it would "eliminate all of the above problems, but would still preserve the benefits of summer time", such as being better in sync with Europe – making international trading and telephone calls easier – and allowing for more daylight. [1] [5] The Althing agreed with this proposal, and on 5 April 1968 passed a law stipulating that daylight saving time be abolished and the national time zone be set to UTC±00:00. [5] The law came into effect on 7 April. [6] Since 1994 and most recently in 2019, there have been an increasing number of proposals made to the Althing to reintroduce daylight saving time for a variety of reasons, however all such proposals and resolutions have been rejected. [7]

Proposals to switch to UTC−01:00

In 2014, Björg Þorleifsdóttir, a lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Iceland, noted in 2014 that humans' circadian rhythms, which regulate the human sleep–wake cycle, are naturally determined by the solar time of their location. As Iceland does not observe its geographical offset, this leads to disturbed sleep cycles, in turn giving Icelanders – particularly teenagers – social jet lag, resulting in detrimental health effects. [8] [9] [10] In November 2017, a work group under the Ministry of Health (which also included Björg) began conducting research into her claims. In January 2018, they concluded that her claims were factually correct and that Iceland should switch its time zone back to UTC−01:00. [11] [12] Public opinion was also in favour of switching to UTC−01:00: in December 2019, a survey conducted by RÚV showed 56 percent of 1,600 respondents supported the proposed change. [13] However, in 2020, the government released a statement announcing that they would not be switching time zones. [11] They noted that changing time zones would reduce daylight hours during waking hours by 13%, which could lead to a reduction in exercise and outdoor activities. [14]

Geography and solar time

Midnight sun (or rather twilight) in Iceland during the summer Always sunny in June. (4712373129).jpg
Midnight sun (or rather twilight) in Iceland during the summer

Most of Iceland lies within the geographical UTC−01:00 offset, including the capital Reykjavík, while the westernmost points of Iceland located west of 22.5° West, including Ísafjörður and the Keflavík International Airport, lie within the geographical UTC−02:00 offset. [15] [16] [17] Despite this, Iceland observes UTC±00:00 in order to be in sync with Europe, which results in noon being an hour behind other countries in the same offset, for example 88 minutes behind London. [15] Midnight sun in Iceland can be experienced in summer on the island of Grímsey off the north coast; [18] the remainder of the country, since it lies just south of the polar circle, experiences a twilight period during which the sun sets briefly, but still has around two weeks of continuous daylight during the summer. [19] [20] The difference of longitude between the western (Bjargtangar; 24°32"W) [21] and easternmost (Hvalbakur; 13°16"W) [22] points of Iceland results in a difference of approximately 44 minutes of solar time.

Effects on health

As Iceland observes UTC±00:00 instead of the geographical UTC−01:00 or UTC−02:00, this results in noon being 88 minutes behind other countries in the same offset. [15] Health experts have argued that this gives Icelandic teenagers social jet lag as the daylight is a misalignment of biological and social time, which consequently results in detrimental health effects. [23] As such, several proposals have been made to transition to UTC−01:00 as the standard time zone, all of which have been rejected by the government. [11]

Time zone map showing the misalignment of Iceland's time zone EUROPE TIME ZONE.png
Time zone map showing the misalignment of Iceland's time zone

Björg Þorleifsdóttir, a lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Iceland, noted in 2014 that humans' circadian rhythms, the natural internal process that regulates the human sleep–wake cycle, is naturally determined by the solar time of where a person lives. But, as Iceland does not observe its geographical position offset, this makes sunrise, noon and sunset happen an hour later than human's biological clocks indicate, which Björg argued leads to disturbed sleep cycles, in-turn giving Icelanders – particularly teenagers – social jet lag, leading to sleep deprivation, slowed reaction times, fatigue, difficulty in concentrating and more frequent mood swings. According to Björg, 35 percent of Icelanders aged between 16 and 19 experience this fatigue. [8] [9] [10] In January 2018, a work group under the Ministry of Health (which also included Björg) further echoed these concerns, when after a study they concluded that Iceland's peculiar position on the geographical time zone map had indeed affected Icelander's health, and in particular led to an "increased risk of illness, poorer schooling, increased depression and fatigue." [11] [12] [24]

The aforementioned claims have not been without criticism however. In 2019, astrophysicist Gunnlaugur Björnsson, while noting the importance of sleep, argued that changing the time zone would not fix sleep deprivation or stop its negative effects, citing "nowhere have I seen research that clock setting affects the progression or recovery of lifestyle diseases and other ailments." He argued that the prevalence of diseases came from lifestyle choices rather than a biological misalignment with a person's social time. He further claimed that "sleep research experts like to state this and seem convinced that this is correct, say 'Studies show that…'. They are usually referring to research into the effects of sleep deprivation, not to the results of systematic research into the effects of timekeeping on physical and mental health." [25] In 2020, the government released a statement announcing they will not be switching time zones. [11] They noted that changing time zones would reduce daylight hours during waking hours by 13%, which could lead to a reduction in exercise and outdoor activities. [14]

Notation

Iceland uses the 24-hour notation in writing, such as on timetables and business hours, but when speaking the 12-hour notation is commonly used. [26]

IANA time zone database

In the IANA time zone database, Iceland is given one zone in the file zone.tab – Atlantic/Reykjavik. "IS" refer's to the country's ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code. The table below displays data taken directly from zone.tab of the IANA time zone database. Columns marked with * are the columns from zone.tab itself: [27]

c.c.*coordinates*TZ*CommentsUTC offsetDST
IS +6409−02151 Atlantic/Reykjavik +00:00 +00:00

Computers which do not support "Atlantic/Reykjavik" may use the older POSIX syntax: TZ="GMT0". [28]

See also

Related Research Articles

Time zone Area that observes a uniform standard time

A time zone is an area that observes a uniform standard time for legal, commercial and social purposes. Time zones tend to follow the boundaries between countries and their subdivisions instead of strictly following longitude, because it is convenient for areas in frequent communication to keep the same time.

Daylight saving time Adjustment of clocks twice a year

Daylight saving time (DST), also known as daylight savings time or daylight time, and summer time, is the practice of advancing clocks during warmer months so that darkness falls at a later clock time. The typical implementation of DST is to set clocks forward by one hour in the spring and set clocks back by one hour in autumn to return to standard time. As a result, there is one 23-hour day in late winter or early spring and one 25-hour day in autumn.

Western European Time Time zone in Europe: UTC±00:00

Western European Time is a time zone covering parts of western Europe and consists of countries using UTC±00:00. It is one of the three standard time zones in the European Union along with Central European Time and Eastern European Time.

Summer time in Europe Variation of standard clock time

Summer time in Europe is the variation of standard clock time that is applied in most European countries in the period between spring and autumn, during which clocks are advanced by one hour from the time observed in the rest of the year, with a view to making the most efficient use of seasonal daylight. It corresponds to the notion and practice of daylight saving time (DST) to be found in many other parts of the world.

Atlantic Time Zone Time zone (UTC−04:00)

The Atlantic Time Zone is a geographical region that keeps standard time—called Atlantic Standard Time (AST)—by subtracting four hours from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), resulting in UTC−04:00. AST is observed in parts of North America, some Caribbean islands, and parts of South America. During part of the year, some portions of the zone observe daylight saving time, referred to as Atlantic Daylight Time (ADT), by moving their clocks forward one hour to result in UTC−03:00. The clock time in this zone is based on the mean solar time of the 60th meridian west of the Greenwich Observatory.

Newfoundland Time Zone Time zone in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

The Newfoundland Time Zone (NT) is a geographic region that keeps time by subtracting 3.5 hours from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) during standard time, resulting in UTC−03:30; or subtracting 2.5 hours during daylight saving time. The clock time in this zone is based on the mean solar time of the meridian 52 degrees and 30 arcminutes west of the Greenwich Observatory. It is observed solely in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Newfoundland Time Zone is the only active time zone with a half-hour offset from UTC in the Americas.

Singapore Standard Time (SST), also known as Singapore Time (SGT), is used in Singapore and is 8 hours ahead of UTC (UTC+08:00). Singapore does not currently observe daylight saving time.

Time in Russia About the 11 time zones of Russia

There are eleven time zones in Russia, which currently observe times ranging from UTC+02:00 to UTC+12:00. Daylight saving time (DST) has not been used in Russia since 26 October 2014. From 27 March 2011 to 26 October 2014, permanent DST was used.

UTC±00:00 Identifier for the UTC

UTC±00:00 is an identifier for a time offset from UTC of +00:00. In ISO 8601, an example of the associated time would be written as 2019-02-07T23:28:34+00:00. It is also known by the following mnemonic or historical names:

Bangladesh Standard Time Time zone used in Bangladesh

Bangladesh Standard Time (BST) is the time zone of Bangladesh. It is offset six hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time, and observed as a national standard throughout the country. Bangladesh briefly observed daylight saving time (DST) in 2009 to cope with the ongoing electricity crisis, but in 2010 the decision was cancelled by the government of Bangladesh.

Time in Europe Time zones in Europe

Europe spans seven primary time zones, excluding summer time offsets. Most European countries use summer time and harmonise their summer time adjustments; see Summer time in Europe for details.

Daylight saving time by country

Daylight saving time (DST), also known as summer time, is the practice of advancing clocks during part of the year, typically by one hour around spring and summer, so that daylight ends at a later time of the day. As of 2022, DST is observed in most of Europe, most of North America and parts of Asia around the Northern Hemisphere summer, and in parts of South America and Oceania around the Southern Hemisphere summer. It was also formerly observed in other areas.

Time in the Danish Realm Time zones of Denmark and its dependencies

Denmark, including the dependencies Faroe Islands and Greenland, uses six time zones.

Time in the Kingdom of the Netherlands is denoted by Central European Time (CET) during the winter as standard time in the Netherlands, which is one hour ahead of coordinated universal time (UTC+01:00), and Central European Summer Time (CEST) during the summer as daylight saving time, which is two hours ahead of coordinated universal time (UTC+02:00). The Caribbean Netherlands – which consist of the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba – all observe Atlantic Standard Time (AST) year-round, which is four hours behind coordinated universal time (UTC−04:00).

Time in Finland Time zones used in Finland

Finland, including Åland, uses Eastern European Time (EET) during the winter as standard time, which is two hours ahead of coordinated universal time (UTC+02:00), and Eastern European Summer Time (EEST) during the summer as daylight saving time, which is three hours ahead of coordinated universal time (UTC+03:00). Finland adopted EET on 30 April 1921, and has observed daylight saving time in its current alignment since 1983 by advancing the clock forward one hour at 03:00 EET on the last Sunday in March and back at 04:00 EET on the last Sunday in October.

In Croatia, the standard time is Central European Time. Daylight saving time is observed from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.

In Slovenia, the standard time is Central European Time. Daylight saving time is observed from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October. This is shared with several other EU member states.

Time in Svalbard Time zones used in Svalbard

Svalbard, an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean belonging to the Kingdom of Norway, uses Central European Time (CET) during the winter as standard time, which is one hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+01:00), and Central European Summer Time (CEST) during the summer as daylight saving time, which is two hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+02:00). This is shared with the rest of Norway, as is Svalbard's use of daylight saving time, which the territory observes annually by advancing the clock forward on the last Sunday in March and back again on the last Sunday in October. However, as Svalbard experiences midnight sun during the summer due to being located north of the Arctic Circle, it gives daylight saving time no utility, and is only observed in order to make communicating with Norway Proper more convenient. At the 74th parallel north, the midnight sun lasts 99 days and polar night 84 days, while the respective figures at the 81st parallel north are 141 and 128 days.

Time in Lithuania Time zones used in Lithuania

Time in Lithuania is given by Eastern European Time. Daylight saving time, which moves one hour ahead to UTC+03:00 is observed from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October. Latvia adopted EET in 1920.

References

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  2. 1 2 3 Sveinbjörnsdóttir, Emilía Dagný (23 April 2008) "Hvenær var hætt að skipta á milli sumar- og vetrartíma á Íslandi?" [When did the switch between summer and winter time in Iceland stop?]. (in Icelandic). Visindavefur  [ is ]. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  3. 1 2 Um tímareikning á Íslandi [About time calculation in Iceland]. (in Icelandic). Almanac of the University of Iceland. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  4. Frumvarp til laga. [Bill to the law]. (in Icelandic). Almanac of the University of Iceland. Retrieved 10 February 2022.
  5. 1 2 3 Hagalin, Þórhildur (5 December 2014) "Hvenær var ákveðið að Greenwich-tíminn skyldi vera staðaltími á Íslandi og með hvaða rökum?" [When was it decided that Greenwich Mean Time should be the standard time in Iceland and for what reasons?]. (in Icelandic). Visindavefur. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  6. Lög um tímareikning á Íslandi [Act on time calculation in Iceland] (law) [No. 6 of 1968]. (in Icelandic). 5 April 1968. Althing – via althingi.is. "Tóku gildi 7. apríl 1968 kl. 01.00. [Entered into force on 7 April 1968 at 01.00.]". Retrieved 5 February 2022.
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  9. 1 2 Staff (1 December 2014) "Will Iceland be moved into its right geographical time zone?". Iceland Magazine. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  10. 1 2 Þorleifsdóttir, Björg (15 March 2019) "Gengur líkamsklukkan alltaf í takt við venjulega klukku?" [Does the body clock always keep pace with the normal clock?]. (in Icelandic). Vísindavefurinn. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 "Despite popular support, Iceland will not change its local time", 1 September 2020. Nord News. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  12. 1 2 Editorial Board, Icelandic Science Association (1 September 2018) "Hvað hefur vísindamaðurinn Björg Þorleifsdóttir rannsakað?" [What has the scientist Björg Þorleifsdóttir researched?]. (in Icelandic). Vísindavefurinn. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  13. "56% vilja seinka klukkunni um klukkutíma" [56% want to delay the clock by an hour]. (in Icelandic). RÚV, 11 December 2019. Retrieved 10 February 2022.
  14. 1 2 Prime Minister's Office; Ministry of Education and Children; Ministry of Health (1 September 2020) "Óbreytt klukka á Íslandi" [Unchanged clock in Iceland]. (in Icelandic). Government of Iceland – stjornarradid.is. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  15. 1 2 3 Hannesson, Heimir (15 January 2014) "Ísland í röngu tímabelti" [Iceland in the wrong time zone]. (in Icelandic). Vísir.is . Retrieved 5 February 2022.
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  24. Working Group of the Ministry of Health (31 January 2018) "Ávinningur fyrir lýðheilsu og vellíðan landsmanna af því að leiðrétta klukkuna til samræmis við gang sólar" [Benefits for public health and well-being of the people by adjusting the clock according to the movement of the sun]. (in Icelandic). Government of Icelandstjornarradid.is. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  25. Björnsson, Gunnlaugur (18 January 2019) "Er umræðan um klukkustillingu á villigötum?" [Is the discussion about changing the clock on wild streets?]. (in Icelandic). Fréttablaðið . Retrieved 5 February 2022.
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