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In northern hemisphere, the highest temperatures are usually in July — in the middle of calendar summer. See e.g. the climate chart on this wikipedia page. But the solstices are on 20-21 of June, almost a month before the middle of July. If the sun is at its highest on solstice day, why isn't the temperature the highest at that time?

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    $\begingroup$ It takes a while for the land masses to warm up. Around the solstices the Sun is at its highest, which also means that the Sun rises to pretty much that high elevation above the horizon around that time so weeks later you still have long days with the Sun high in the sky. The warming will thus continue quite rapidly for quite a while. In Winter there the opposite effect, Late December usually is not the coldest time of the year. In the Arctic the so-called "hard Winter" only starts in late December the coldest time of the year is usually late Januari or even Februari. $\endgroup$ – Count Iblis Jun 20 '16 at 20:04
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The reason the hottest temperatures of the year are later than the solstice is because the land and oceans need time to warm up. Interestingly enough, there's a name for this phenomenon - "the lag of the seasons".

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  • $\begingroup$ Physicists also have a word for it: Thermal Inertia. It is also the reason why you can switch off an electric kettle a few seconds before it reaches boiling point and the water will still come to the boil. $\endgroup$ – Oscar Bravo Jul 25 '19 at 12:47

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