The Naming of Time Zones

Being USA-centric, the thought hit me that the names of US time zones seem very North America centric, at best. For example, “Mountain Time” seems very USA-specific, maybe US-Canada specific. What says Mexico at the same longitude as Denver, CO? Or, South American places at the same longitude as Denver?

Does the entire world recognize the same time zones? Are the names standardized across all countries? Or, if not the entire world, how about all those countries in the modern world ruled by timetables, schedules, and commerce?

What’s the SD on this?

The little sliver of Mexico that’s in Mountain Time is still pretty mountainous and the rest of the time zone is just ocean.

Lots of time zones also have multiple names, which may be because of different observances of daylight savings time, but sometimes they’re just called different things at different latitudes. Try this: go to this wikipedia list of time zone abbreviations and sort it by UTC offset. Most time zones have multiple names.

According to, what is known as Mountain Time in USA and Canada is called Pacific Time in Mexico.

Apparently, the small piece of the country that is in what would be known further north as Pacific Time is called Northwest Time in Mexico.

The 1884 International Meridian Conference set the Greenwich meridian as zero longitude. Although time zones were not officially established by the conference, most nations had adopted the scheme by the end of the century.

Individual nations, states, regions, and cities did keep to local time until well into the 20th century but the pressures of uniformity, especially for railroads, meant that standard time and standard time zoneswere pretty much universal for the last century.

There aren’t any places in South America at the same longitude of Denver. South America is mostly east of North America.

Here in Panama we are in Eastern Standard Time, but also in the same time zone as Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Since the latter countries are entirely in one time zone, their time is referred to as Colombia Time (COT), Ecuador Time (ECT), and Peru Time (PET).

Brazil has three time zones, Amazon Time (AMT), which corresponds to Atlantic Time in North America, Brasilia Time (BRT), and Fernando de Noronha time (FNT), which is used only for some small islands off the east coast.

For what it’s worth, there aren’t any parts of South America at the same latitude as Denver. Ecuador is at about the same latitude as Pennsylvania.

Though that just calls the question into starker relief, because it would be even more absurd for the Ecuadorians, on the west coast of the continent, to call their time zone “Eastern”.

I have never heard of anyone refer to a Panama Time Zone, although people here often speak of “Panama time,” which is about an a hour after the actual scheduled time for anything. (If you want people to know that they actually need to show up at the exact time scheduled, you have to say “gringo time” or la hora inglesa, “English time.”:D)

For those that are familiar with the Google, here is the first hit for “name of time zones”.

Wow, Chronos. At least I can’t argue with your first sentence.

Maybe it’s a typo for ‘attitude’? :wink:

Very True

Wait… so is the Northern half of Indiana… why don’t get the tropical climate as Equador?

Here’s more about the world-standard computer names for timezones:

As to Colibri and following posts …

There’s changes in latitude; changes in attitude. Nothing remains quite the same.

But longitude’s the same all up and down between Pennsylvania and Ecuador. :slight_smile:

Hey, I said longitude, like the OP. Chronos is the one who started talking about latitude…

Which is still one hour earlier than Hawaiian Time…:slight_smile:

If it helps people to think of major cities: Lima, Peru and Washington, DC are both at about longitude 77° W.

Also: Quito, Ecuador and Myrtle Beach, SC are both at about longitude 78° W. And Portland, Maine and Santiago Chile are both at about longitude 70° W

I spent a year at a USCG LORAN station on Marcus Island, which is a Japanese island 600 east of Iwo Jima. The Japanese kept a small weather station (JMA) and JMSDF (Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force. Never say Japan has a Navy or Army, it’s self defense forces) to run the landing strip on this 3.2 mile in circumference island. Anyways us Americans would kept our clocks local time while the Japanese would keep their clocks on Japan time…2 hours behind local time. So if we were arranging things with the Japanese like a softball game we would say “three o’clock CG time, one o’clock Japanese time”.
A further complication was the military keeps their official records on what the world calls Greenwich Mean Time and we call Zulu time. So at 1100 CG (0900 Japan) we would type up a new log sheet and collect the day old recording graphs (about four) from the timer room to file for a few years.

Following that logic, here (I think) are the largest cities in each time zone:

0: London, UK
-1: Praia, Cape Verde
-2: Vila dos Remedios, Brazil
-3: Sao Paolo, Brazil
-4: Santiago, Chile
-5: New York City, USA
-6: Mexico City, Mexico
-7: Phoenix, USA
-8: Los Angeles, USA
-9: Anchorage, USA
-10: Honolulu: USA
-11: Sand Island, Midway?
12: Auckland, New Zealand
+11: Magadan, Russia
+10: Sydney, Australia
+9: Tokyo, Japan
+8: Shanghai, China
+7: Jakarta, Indonesia
+6: Almaty, Kazakhstan
+5.5: Mumbai, India
+5: Karachi, Pakistan
+4: Yerevan, Armenia
+3.5: Tehran, Iran
+3: Moscow, Russia
+2: Cairo, Egypt
+1: Lagos, Nigeria

For the sake of completeness,-3.5 would be St. John’s, NL.

:smack: Sorry. :smack: One of theirs sandwiched between two of yours fooled me in all my scrolling up and down.

And for the sake of complete completeness there is a GMT + 9.5 timezone, and the largest city in it is Adelaide, South Australia.