Difference Between Local Time and Standard Time (With Table)

Local Time vs Standard Time

The key difference between Local Time and Standard Time lies in the fact that local time refers to the time which is estimated based on the sun’s movement, while standard time refers to the time which is fixed for particular places by the law of a country.

Local time changes depending on the longitude, whereas standard time is constant for a particular place.

While both the local time and standard time denotes the time of a specific place, there is a significant dissimilarity between the two terms.

Notably, the earth makes a full rotation, which is three hundred and sixty degrees, in twenty-four hours; hence, every time zone is fifteen degrees wide.

Time zones play a major role in bringing out the difference between local time and standard time. The following are the definitions and main differences between the local time and the standard time.

 

What is Local Time?

Local time refers to the specific time of a particular place expressed in relation to the longitudinal line that passes through the place.

The difference in local time of different places is due to the location of the places in different longitudinal lines.

Additionally, every place has the sun overhead at its own specific time, thus the difference in local time from one region to another.

For example, New York and Pittsburgh are two cities in the Eastern Time Zone with a different local time due to a six degrees longitudinal difference.

local time 1
Local time is local to a city
 

What is Standard Time?

On the other hand, standard time refers to the time of the standard meridian of a particular country.

The difference in the standard time of different regions is due to the location of the places in different time zones of the world.

The standard time is reckoned by the distance, either east or west, from the Prime Greenwich Meridian of the longitudinal line within the subject region.

For example, despite being on different longitudinal positions, New York and Pittsburgh have a similar standard time.

standard time
Standard time is specific to the country. e.g. Indian Standard Time (IST)

 

Comparison Table Between Local Time and Standard Time (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonLocal TimeStandard Time
MeaningTime determined under the basis of the sun’s apparent movement.This refers to the fixed time of several places in a given region that fall under the same standard meridian.
VariationsChanges with the change in longitudinal position.Changes with the change in time zones of regions.
Longitudinal DifferencesPlaces within the same longitude have the same local time.Places within the same longitude might have different standard time.
Computation of TimeTime computed in reference to the longitude of the place.Time computed in reference to the time zone of the particular region.
UseUsed to handle time-bound events such as transportation schedules.Used to get rid of the confusion that might occur when regions are in different time zones.

Main Differences Between Local Time and Standard Time

While taking a look at the local time and standard time of most places, there is a significant difference between them. However, that’s not the only difference between the two times.

The local time and standard time differ in several other factors, including their meaning, variations, longitudinal factors, measurement, and precision.

The following is a discussion of the main differences between local time and standard time.

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Meaning

While both of the time refers to the time of a particular place, the local time and standard time remain different in terms of meaning.

The local time of a particular place refers to the time determined under the basis of the sun’s apparent movement.

On the other hand, the standard time refers to the fixed time of several places in a given region that fall under the same standard meridian.

Variations

The local time of different places changes with the change in the longitudinal line that the places are located.

On the other hand, the standard time remains the same for a particular region or country.

However, the standard time is also subject to change if the places don’t share a similar time zone.

For example, the cities on the East Coast, America share a similar standard time but different local times.

Taking an example of New York and Pittsburgh, which share a similar standard time, there is a twenty-four minutes difference in their two cities’ local time.

The difference is as a result of a six degrees longitudinal difference between them.

However, despite being in the same country, cities in the East Coast and those on the West Coast of America share both different local times and standard times.

Longitudinal Differences

Changes in the longitudinal positioning of cities yield to a different local time between the two places.

As a result, places located at the same longitudinal line have the same local time.

On the other hand, places that have shared the same longitudinal line might have different standard times.

Computation of the Time

To come up with the local time and standard time of a particular place is done in two different approaches.

The local time of a particular place is reckoned by the shadow cast by the sun and the meridian running through the place.

On the other hand, the standard time of a particular place is reckoned by the time zone of the region.

The time zone of a particular region is determined by the distance, either east or west, from the Prime Greenwich Meridian to the region.

Use

Taking two cities that are in the same time zone, say Pittsburgh and New York, there are significant differences between the local time of the two cities.

Notably, the standard time generalizes the time of a give region hence not a precise time measure while handling time-bound events such as exact transportation schedules.

While the standard time generalizes the time of a given region, the local time gives the exact time of a particular place.

However, standard time helps in getting rid of the confusion that might occur when a region uses different time zones.


 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Local Time and Standard Time

  1. How do you convert UTC Time to Local Time?

    The world has 24 time zones. Some regions, countries or states usually shift their times by half an hour from the 24 hour time zones or divisions.

    Standard inside most time zones is a number of hours offset from a time scale( Coordinate Universal Time) usually abbreviated UTC.

    To convert UTC to local time some hours should be added or subtracted from UTC.

    For example, the following conversions apply for the United States:
    Atlantic Daylight Time – subtract 3 hours from UTC
    Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time – subtract 10 hours from UTC
    Central Standard Time – subtract 6 hours from UTC
    Pacific Standard Time – subtract 8 hours from UTC
    Samoa Standard Time – subtract 11 hours from UTC
    Pacific Daylight Time – subtract 7 hours from UTC

  2. What is Universal Standard Time?

    Universal standard time is an international time standard that is common to every region worldwide. It is abbreviated as UTC.

    The time scale is governed by a large number of precise atomic clocks found in laboratories around the world.

    The timing center around the world have agreed to keep their scales coordinated and synchronized, therefore the name Coordinated Universal Time.

  3. How is Standard Time determined?

    Standard time can be determined by the distance of the meridian of a region from the prime meridian.

    Standard time is the official local time followed by a country.

    Standard time varies with longitude and as a result, different places within a country can have different local times, causing confusion.

    Therefore, the local time determined from a longitude passing through the middle of a country is regarded as the standard time.

    That standard time will be used all over the country to avoid confusion.

  4. How is standard time is useful?

    Standard time is useful due to the following reasons:
    1) Local time can lead to confusion if all countries and regions use their own local time.
    2) Airways, railways and other transport and communication means would be disrupted without standard time.
    3) Following an international agreement, Greenwich Mean Time can be linked with the local time of the standard meridian. This makes it easier to determine the exact time in regions around the world because of the fixed points such as the international dateline and Greenwich meantime.

  5. Which country has the most time zones?

    The country with the most time zones in France, with 12 time zones. These territories’ time range from UTC-10 to UTC +12.

    This is because the country has a lot of territories oversees. Different parts of France use either Central European Summer Time (UTC+2) or Central European Time(UTC+1).

    France observes Daylight Savings from the last Sunday in March to October’s last Sunday.

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Conclusion

The above comparison brings the major differences between the local time and standard time.

While the local time refers to the time based on the specific time the midday sun is overhead, the standard time describes some regular local time of a particular region.

While the two times are useful, you might need the local time when in need of some time-bound events that require more accurate time.


 

Word Cloud for Difference Between Local Time and Standard Time

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Local Time and Standard Time. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

local time and standard time 2
Word Cloud for Local Time and Standard Time

 

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_mean_time
  2. https://www.timeanddate.com/time/standard-time.html