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What is Standard Time?

Standard time is the local time in a country or region when Daylight Saving Time (DST) is not in use.

Standard time is also known as winter time.

Fifth Avenue Clock showing standard time in New York City in the late fall.

©iStockphoto.com/JaysonPhotography

Standard time is sometimes referred to as winter time or normal time, while DST may also be called summer time, especially in the UK.

DST changes: Dates and local times

No DST in Most Countries

More than 60% of the countries in the world use standard time all year.

The remaining countries use DST during the summer months, generally setting clocks forward 1 hour from standard time.

DST Period Longest

The periods of standard time and DST are not equally long. The standard time period is often shorter than the DST period. In the US andCanada, for instance, the standard time period is only around 4.5 months. Most European countries are on standard time 5 months of the year and spend 7 months on DST.

What is a time zone?

Time Zone Name Changes

During DST, the local time zone name and abbreviation changes, usually to include either “daylight” or “summer” in the time zone name.

For example, New York's standard time is Eastern Standard Time (EST), which is 5 hours behind UTC

(UTC–5). However, during DST, the city is on Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), which is 4 hours behind UTC (UTC–4).

In day-to-day speak, however, the time zone is often referred to as just Eastern Time, regardless of whether it's standard or Daylight Saving Time.

Time Difference From UTC

The local time within a time zone is defined by its offset (difference) from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the world's time standard.

This offset is expressed as either UTC– or UTC+ and the number of hours.

The standard time in a few countries and territories have UTC offsets of 30 or 45 minutes instead of the usual hour.

Interactive Time Zone Map

Countries Switch Time Zones

From time to time, countries decide to change their standard time. Some changes are for political reasons, like in North Korea.

More common reasons are practical, for example facilitating trade with neighboring areas in Canada or to boost tourism in Mexico.

Time Change Without DST

Instead of DST, some locations change their standard time back and forth every year. For example the Antarctic research station Troll switches from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) to Central European Time (CET), and then later it goes on to Central European Summer Time (CEST) to adjust to the local time in its mother country, Norway. Troll time then changes back again to CET and finally to GMT.

Topics: Time Zone, Timekeeping, Daylight Saving Time


Category: Personal Finance

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