Holding On To Summer

There are two major players in the debate on when summer starts and ends. Team astronomical summer vs. team meteorological summer.

Team astronomical calendar insists that the start and end dates of any season are based on the changing position of Earth in relation to the sun, generally regarded as equinoxes and solstices. In the Northern Hemisphere spring ends and summer starts on the June solstice, which occurs every year between June 20 and June 22. Summer ends and autumn starts on the September equinox, which occurs every year between September 21 and 24. In the Southern Hemisphere summer lasts from the December solstice (December 20 to 23) to the March equinox (March 19 to 21).

Team meteorological summer define seasons based on climatic conditions and the annual temperature cycle. Team meteorological summer is a rather scientific team, and prefer to compare these changes based on a more consistent timetable. The length of the astronomical seasons varies between 89 and 93 days while the meteorological calendar is fixed. Winter has 90 days (91 in a leap year). Spring and summer each get 92 days leaving autumn 91 days. This generally translates to the Northern Hemisphere experiencing summer from June 1 – August 31. The Southern Hemisphere would mark summer from December to February.

Most of North America and Europe are team astronomical calendar, while Australia and New Zealand are team meteorological calendar. There are some areas where a third team comes into play which would be the cultural calendar. Traditional Chinese and Celtic calendars place the June solstice in the middle of summer, while the United States culturally considers the summer season to be Memorial Day (last Monday of May) and Labor Day (First Monday of September).


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