When do you consider the seasons to start/end?

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Gavin Chipper
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When do you consider the seasons to start/end?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:47 pm

Yesterday (21st December 2016) was considered to be the first day of winter, according to some. According to others, it starts on 1st December.

According to this, the astronomical seasons start on the solstices and equinoxes (so normally around 21st December, March, June, September), and the meteorological seasons start on the 1st of the months (December, March, June, September).

I've always thought of the solstice/equinox system to be the "traditional" definition, but I think a lot of people have the idea in their head that winter is the cold season and summer is the hot season, so things should be based around optimising that in some way, and the 1st of the month definition seems to fit better with these intuitions.

Well first of all, I want to call bullshit on the name "meteorological season". Basically this is the definition that weather forecasters use. But it doesn't make these seasons "meteorological" in any way. If a group of mathematicians came along and defined seasons in another way, it wouldn't make these seasons mathematical. I think a better name, rather than "meteorological season" is "meteorologistical season", because it relates to meteorologists, not meteorology.

Not that this means that I think that this definition of seasons should never be used. But actually, I wouldn't use it anyway. If I was going to use a system other than what I consider to be the traditional one and wanted to base it on when it's hot and cold, I'd look at long term averages and then divide the year into four equally long seasons that did it's best to maximise the summer average temperature and minimise the winter average temperature.

What do you think?

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Re: When do you consider the seasons to start/end?

Post by JimBentley » Thu Dec 22, 2016 7:04 pm

I don't think seasons start or end any more, at least in the classic sense. They sort of blend into one another, so it isn't possible to say when one ends and another begins on a purely meteorological basis.

However, one of the things I've been going on about for some time is that I think the traditional "seasons" have shifted on about a month since the 1970s/1980s. When I was growing up July was always seen as being the height of summer, but for the last (at least) twenty years, August has pretty much always been the hottest month, with September (formerly an "autumnal" month) quite often warmer than July, and almost always hotter than June. Also, November is very rarely even that cold, whereas February is almost always freezing and the trend quite often extends way into March.

Mind you, this year has been - by whatever metric you care to judge it - pretty weird, weather-wise. We're reaching the tail-end of December and it's still not cold throughout most of the country. Temperatures on Xmas Day are forecast to be between 13 and 15 degrees Centigrade, and that's here on the normally not-exactly-warm northeast English coast. God only knows how warm it's going to be down south.

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Euan Slatter
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Re: When do you consider the seasons to start/end?

Post by Euan Slatter » Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:10 pm

21 DEC - 21 MAR (winter)
21 MAR - 21 JUN (spring)
21 JUN - 21 SEP (summer)
21 SEP - 21 DEC (autumn)

Actually Spring Summer Autumn Winter

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Jennifer Steadman
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Re: When do you consider the seasons to start/end?

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Fri Dec 23, 2016 1:16 am

I wasn't going to get fighty about my personal perception of the seasons, but now I've looked at the shitty 'official' seasons list, fuck it. I'm doubling down. My list is way more right than the official one. Autumn is clearly much shorter than winter, and March is usually pleasantly mild.

Winter: November 1st - Feb 28(/29)th
Spring: March 1st - May 31st
Summer: June 1st - August 31st
Autumn: September 1st - October 31st

2012/13 had a six-month winter (in Cornwall at least). From October til April, it was fucking freezing. We were in a house with terrible heating and single glazing, so I spent six months in bed wearing three pairs of totally ineffective thermal socks and would hold off on having a shower until 3pm every day so I could thaw out.

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Ian Volante
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Re: When do you consider the seasons to start/end?

Post by Ian Volante » Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:13 pm

Around here, Summer lasts for a week in May, Autumn seems to last most of the rest of the year, and Spring and Summer fight with each other for the scraps.
meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles

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