Meteorological Advantage: Spring May Come Sooner Than You Think

Spring daffodil flower grows out of winter snow
Photo: Mariusz Blach/123RF

In late January, with the wind howling, temperatures dipping below freezing and the ever constant threat of sleet or snow, life can get very discouraging. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can come into play and quickly slide right into full-blown depression.

Cheer up, Mr. Sneiv is putting it all on the line and guaranteeing an early spring.

According to my research, the astronomical chart marked the start of winter on Friday, December 21, 2018 at 5:23 p.m., and it ends on Wednesday March 20, 2019 at 5:58 p.m. The astronomical seasonal start dates depend on the date of the equinoxes and solstices, and thus can vary year to year.

The equinoxes and solstices are determined by Earth’s tilt over the equator. In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice falls on or around December 22, and the vernal or spring equinox on or around March 21.

However, there is also what’s called the northern meteorological start of the seasons.

The northern meteorological chart reflects the start of winter on Saturday, December 1, 2018 and the season concludes on the last day of February 2019.

What is the difference, you ask?

While the astronomical chart is based on equinoxes and solstices, the meteorological chart splits the year into four, three-month seasons. The seasons begin on the first day of the months that include equinoxes and solstices.

Because the meteorological definition is more consistent with dates, it makes it easier to calculate seasonal and monthly statistics related to agriculture, commerce, etc.

Meteorologists and climatologists tend to agree more with the meteorological definition. With regard to this, winter in the Hamptons officially comprises the months of December, January and February. Spring includes March, April and May, and so on.

Simply put: All we need to do is adopt the meteorological definition of winter, thus bringing spring to our area approximately three weeks earlier than reflected in the astronomical chart!

So, if you’re feeling gloomy or experiencing cabin fever, there’s no need to worry because spring is coming sooner than you think.

Enjoy it.

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