Weather Wonders: Summer Heat Waves | Schnack Weather Blog

You’ve heard of Summer Dog Days, haven’t you? The Farmer’s Almanac categorizes this period as July through August, when temperatures are warm and humidity high.

Old Farmer’s Almanac

In Greek and Roman times, the summer months brought drought, restlessness, and a short temper between dogs and humans due to high temperatures. Although we don’t really associate the negative things these days with summer, the “Dog Days of Summer” astrologically coincides with the ancient Greeks and Romans.

Summer dog days

Old Farmer’s Almanac

Sirius, the Dog Star, has ties to the constellation Canis Majoris or Canis Major. Along with the two brightest stars, the Sun and Sirius, they were believed to bring unbearable heat. All thanks to the constellation that occurs during the summer, the term “Dog Days of Summer” was born.

Egyptians and Dog Days

Old Farmer’s Almanac

The Sirius uprising wasn’t so bad for the Egyptians. The inundation of the Nile was important for agriculture, as the waters brought rich soil to otherwise dry land. Many noticed that the waters would rise when the Dog Star began to rise before the sun. So they praised this event and even started their calendar year after the New Moon after the star first appeared.

Tilt of the Earth

Farmer’s Almanac

We do know, however, that the “Dog Days of Summer” isn’t really caused by a rising star. It actually gets so hot in the summer months because of the Earth’s tilt. At the summer solstice, the Earth is positioned to receive the most direct amount of solar radiation.