Editorial, by Stone Korshak
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – At midnight on Saturday evening (February 20, 2016) most of Brazil changed their clocks back to observe the end of Daylight Savings Time (DST). Some of Brazil is not affected, as Equatorial Brazil does not observe DST, only ten of the country’s 26 states go through this process twice a year.
DST is observed in Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Parana, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espirito Santo, Minas Gerais, Goias, Mato Grosso, and Mato Grosso do Sul, and also the Distrito Federal.
It took me a few years to understand how this relates to time changes in the northern hemisphere, as their calendars are the opposite, and the dates of the time changes are all different. The result is between Rio and cities like New York and London there are three different time differences throughout the year.
Almost half of the year, in Brazil’s winter months, we are just one hour ahead of New York (EST), when their summer enjoys DST. The other almost half of the year it is Brazil’s DST, and in much of the northern hemisphere, they switch back, leaving Rio three hours ahead. It is only in between these dates that Rio is two hours ahead of New York.
Confused? Here is the breakdown. Brazil Daylight Savings Time in 2016 is February 20th and October 16th. The U.S. Daylight Savings in 2016 is March 13th to November 6th. So for three weeks in February/March we are two hours ahead, and then again for a few weeks in October/November.
London changes on March 27th and October 30th, so there is another calculation for when the time changes from two hours behind, to three hours, and then four hours. Thankfully there are people in charge of keeping track of this for us, and tell us what time it is.
In other time-related notes, Saturday marked the date when news broke of how serious the city of Rio de Janeiro is about not finishing the Metro subway extension from Barra da Tijuca to the rest of the city. It signifies another major promise unkept, first the water cleanup of the bay, and now the major transportation improvement.
The Games must go on, but the spirit of the Brazilians hosting the mega event has taken another blow. And the idea of traveling from Zona Sul along the heavily congested corridor to go see Olympic events in Barra da Tijuca may be changing from a 30-45 minute, to a 2-3 hour affair.