Looking around the globe and specifically in Nigeria, every one, (or almost everyone) is talking about the heat wave, while some argued it’s as a result of the equinox phenomenon, others blamed it on climate change. I was one of those who said it was due to climate change until some warnings started hitting us from left, right and center via social media, about something called ‘equinox phenomenon’.
Messages about equinox and how heat wave will hit some parts of Nigeria have been making the rounds on social media some even tried to give explanations for the unprecedented heat waves witnessed by all. Many social media users have continued to receive and circulate the message with hopes that it would help someone to cope with the heat wave. Maybe you too got some of those messages like I did, but just in case you didn’t, here are two of such in their exact words:
“Dear all, Due to the Equinox phenomenon that will affect Most of Asia and Africa in the next 5 days. Pls stay indoors especially from 12pm-3pm daily. The temperature will fluctuate till 40 degrees Celsius. This can easily cause dehydration and sun stroke. (Ps: this phenomena is due to the sun directly positioned above the equator line.) Please keep everyone inclusive of yourself hydrated. Everyone should be consuming about 3 litres of fluid everyday. Monitor everyone’s blood pressure as frequent as possible. Many may get heat stroke. Cold showers as frequent as possible. Reduce meat increase fruits & veg. Heat wave is no joke! Place a new unused candle outside home area or exposed area. If candle can melt, its in dangerous level. Always place a pail or 2 water half filled in living room & each in every room to keep moist temperature down. Always check lips, eye balls moisture. Please Share…..”
“Please don’t allow our children and aged go into this hot sun with the associated heat in the country. In addition to the above message, we should put water in bowls and put in every room or wet the rooms 2 or 3 times a day to keep the surroundings cool and confortable. Please comply for avoidance of stroke and menigitis. It will not be our portion in the might power of God.”
Trust Nigerians, a word of prayer will always follow. Similar messages were also circulated in Kenya and even far away India and the words were similar to a large extent. Info coming from some of those quarters say the messages are misleading and grossly exaggerated. The weatherman (Kenya) also disputed the message dubbing it as merely a rumor, while adding that there would be the usual fluctuation of temperature but assured the citizens that it is nothing to worry about. Should the advice be extended to Nigeria as well? I am yet to hear of any pronouncement by ‘weathermen’ in Nigeria in this regard, or could it be I haven’t listened well enough? We all know that when the right info is not available rumour gains grounds. Remember how people drank concentrated salt water to combat Ebola?
So, what really is equinox phenomenon? According to Wikipedia, An equinox is an astronomical event in which the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the Sun. This occurs twice each year, and is the reason for the hot spell, especially between 12 noon and 3 p.m. around 20 March and 23 September. Equinox is a Latin word for equal night. On an equinox, day and night are of approximately equal duration all over the planet. They are not exactly equal, however, due to the angular size of the sun and atmospheric refraction, the earth is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun. This marks the changing of seasons as Earth travels around the sun. But to avoid this ambiguity, the word equinox is sometimes used to mean a day in which the durations of light and darkness are equal.
An official who spoke to City Express (an Indian newspaper), said, the messages doing the rounds, where they talk about temperatures shooting up to 40°C in the next few days, are untrue. He stated clearly that equinox will be one of the factors because of the sun’s movement, hence there will be an increase in temperature. Another official termed the messages a ‘misadventure’ from uninformed persons, saying that the equinox happens every March and the primary cause for rise in temperatures is because of clear skies and radiation from the sun’s rays is more. If we have clouds, the effect of the rays would be less.
I hope this helps put our minds at rest. But then a few tips to beat the heat wouldn’t hurt: The best way to retain fluid in the body is to take tender coconut or butter milk with salt. To block UV rays, use an umbrella, wear sunglasses, apply sun screen at least 10 minutes before you leave the house, and ensure that you wear loose cotton clothes. Have a cold bath twice a day. Eat foods that are rich in anti-oxidants, and take a bottle of water along on the go.
So, what have heard about equinox phenomenon? Did you have to keep your kids indoors as was advised in the messages on social media?
Till the next post moms, be awesome!
Image credit: temptingeast.blogspot.com