Diurnal cycle

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A diurnal cycle is any pattern that recurs every 24 hours as a result of one full rotation of the Earth.[1]

In climatology, the diurnal cycle is one of the most basic forms of climate patterns. The most familiar such pattern is the diurnal temperature variation. Such a cycle may be approximately sinusoidal, or include components of a truncated sinusoid (due to the sun's rising and setting).

A semi-diurnal cycle refers to a pattern that occurs about every twelve hours or about twice a day. Often these can be related to lunar tides, in which case the interval is closer to 12 hours and 25 minutes.

Practical Example

In telecommunications, the daily temperature cycle from the sun warming the earth causes a diurnal sinusoidal phase shift as the fiber optics or wire cabling expands and contracts.

See also