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View Full Version : Why does spring start on Sept 1 in New Zealand?



tony873004
2006-Sep-06, 12:17 AM
My sister moved to New Zealand last year. Today she e-mailed me asking
A strange thing here, spring starts on Sept 1 – not on the solstice….. any ideas why?
She probably meant the equinox. Did someone just give her bad info? (my guess), or do the Kiwis really consider Sept 1 the start of Spring?

Nowhere Man
2006-Sep-06, 12:54 AM
Many other countries consider the equinoxes and solstices to be the middle of the season, not the beginning. Makes sense to me. By the time March 21 rolls around, spring is in full throttle here in SE Michigan.

AFAIK, only the US uses the equinoxes and solstices as the beginnings of the seasons. Stupid.

Fred

01101001
2006-Sep-06, 12:55 AM
My sister moved to New Zealand last year. Today she e-mailed me asking
She probably meant the equinox. Did someone just give her bad info? (my guess), or do the Kiwis really consider Sept 1 the start of Spring?

I don't know about NZ -- it shouldn't be hard to find on the Web -- but seasons are not rigidly defined the same across all cultures.

The Bad Astronomer: The seasons begin at the time of the solstice or equinox (http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/badseasons.html)

pzkpfw
2006-Sep-06, 01:25 AM
I don't know exactly why, but yep - September 1st is generally considered the start of spring here.

My kids are already sick of hearing me say:

"Spring has sprung, the grass is rizz, I wonder where them birdies is?”

tony873004
2006-Sep-06, 03:57 AM
Thanks guys. I learned something new :)

Jens
2006-Sep-06, 04:14 AM
I wonder if it isn't simply a question of what you mean by spring. For example, I'm aware that here (in the northern hemisphere) summer actually starts on June 21, but I think people often consider the summer starting on July 1, because that's when the pools open and children can start to do "summery" things. I think in America there's something about a hedgehog coming out of its hole, which means that some people might consider the beginning of spring to be a variable thing. Basically, I think there are two kinds of seasons. There are the scientific ones, and then the "well, it FEELS like winter" type. So that could be part of the confusion.

Maksutov
2006-Sep-06, 04:26 AM
It's just the difference between the astronomical definition and a meteorological definition.

It's only in the last few years that I've become aware that some people and countries tend to go with the meteorological definition. I prefer to stay with the astronomical.

PhantomWolf
2006-Sep-06, 07:26 AM
Because we're weird? I think that it's just considered easier to start it when the month starts rather that waiting for the equinox. In some ways it makes sense too, after all, surely the longest night should be in the middle of winter, but at the begining of it.

Maksutov
2006-Sep-06, 07:42 AM
Because we're weird? I think that it's just considered easier to start it when the month starts rather that waiting for the equinox. In some ways it makes sense too, after all, surely the longest night should be in the middle of winter, but at the begining of it.Agreed re "but at the begining of it". Makes sense that the start of winter should be at the longest night of the year, given the hysteresis effect of the atmosphere.

Tell some northern New Englander sometime when he's in the middle of yet another February blizzard that "It's Spring!"

Ayuh.

:doh:

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2006-Sep-06, 08:07 AM
Agreed re "but at the begining of it". Makes sense that the start of winter should be at the longest night of the year, given the hysteresis effect of the atmosphere.

Tell some northern New Englander sometime when he's in the middle of yet another February blizzard that "It's Spring!"

Ayuh.

:doh:
SPRIING ...

At That Tiime of Year, we're Still Trying to Figure Out, Where we Parked That Darn Car ....

Juust Remember, Never Get Drunk at Christmas!

PhantomWolf
2006-Sep-06, 08:15 AM
Well perhaps in March (Feb is still summer here so it'd be winter still in the NH,) but then we tend to have milder weather anyway.

PhantomWolf
2006-Sep-06, 08:21 AM
NZ Seasons.

1 Sept - 30 Nov = Spring
1 Dec - 28(9) Feb = Summer
1 Mar - 31 May = Autumn
1 June - 31 Aug = Winter

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2006-Sep-06, 08:30 AM
NZ Seasons.

1 Sept - 30 Nov = Spring
1 Dec - 28(9) Feb = Summer
1 Mar - 31 May = Autumn
1 June - 31 Aug = Winter
That Would COVER New Hampshire Pretty Well, Too ...

By Then If you Pray, Really, Really Hard ...

Maybe, Juust Maybe, you'll Be Able to Hear The Horn Chirp, When you Push The Keyless Lock Button!

tony873004
2006-Sep-06, 09:06 AM
In San Francisco:
June 15-September 10: Winter
September 11-September 20: Summer
September 21-May 15: Winter again
may 15-June 14: Summer

tusenfem
2006-Sep-06, 09:17 AM
I think it has everything to do with "meteorological" seasons.
The start of the seasons is defined by the solstices and equinoxes, but ... the dates are not very convenient if you want to do some research, and therefore in meteorology the dates are shifted to the beginning of the month. At least in Austria and in the Netherlands the weatherperson on TV says it specifically: "It is now September 1st, the start of the meteorological autumn."

Argos
2006-Sep-06, 12:47 PM
AFAIK, only the US uses the equinoxes and solstices as the beginnings of the seasons. Stupid.



Nah, we´re stupid down here too. :)

(*) In fact I don´t find it that stupid.

Essan
2006-Sep-06, 01:46 PM
I think it has everything to do with "meteorological" seasons.

At least in Austria and in the Netherlands the weatherperson on TV says it specifically: "It is now September 1st, the start of the meteorological autumn."

Aye, it's the same everywhere.

And I can assure you that most weather forums have the same old discussion every 3 months - folk arguing over when the season starts (meteorological or astronomical).

Personally I side with the astronomical definition.

Of course, in the UK this year, autumn started in august. Although it now seems to be summer again ..... !

pghnative
2006-Sep-06, 09:36 PM
Personally I side with the astronomical definition.Forgive me for being obtuse, but which definition was the astronomical definition?

a) the one where the season starts on the equinox/solstice
b) the one where the seasons straddle the equinoxes/solstices

hhEb09'1
2006-Sep-07, 05:46 AM
Forgive me for being obtuse, but which definition was the astronomical definition?

a) the one where the season starts on the equinox/solstice
b) the one where the seasons straddle the equinoxes/solsticesYeah, the meteorological definition would change from place to place, right? And in some places, the seasons would not have nearly the same length. I think Winter in Laramie WY was at least four months long.

pghnative
2006-Sep-07, 05:53 PM
Forgive me for being obtuse, but which definition was the astronomical definition?

a) the one where the season starts on the equinox/solstice
b) the one where the seasons straddle the equinoxes/solstices
Yeah, the meteorological definition would change from place to place, right? And in some places, the seasons would not have nearly the same length. I think Winter in Laramie WY was at least four months long.
But which one is which?

tony873004
2006-Sep-07, 10:45 PM
The astronomical definition is
a) the one where the season starts on the equinox/solstice

Essan
2006-Sep-08, 11:34 AM
Yes, the astronomical definition of autumn has it starting on the equinox :)

Meteorologically it can vary, but in the UK at least the year is divided equally into 4 - with autumn commencing on the 1st September.

In America it's a bit more complicated becasue for some strange reason they don't have autumn ....... :P ;)

Tog
2006-Sep-08, 12:57 PM
Yes, the astronomical definition of autumn has it starting on the equinox :)

Meteorologically it can vary, but in the UK at least the year is divided equally into 4 - with autumn commencing on the 1st September.

In America it's a bit more complicated becasue for some strange reason they don't have autumn ....... :P ;)

Here in Utah (western US) summer unofficially starts on Memorial Day (Last weekend in May, and runs through Labor Day (First weekend in September) Winter starts with the first snow after Halloween, and lasts until about the end of March. We do have spring and fall, but they tend to last about a weekend as the year jumps back and forth from summer to winter.

pghnative
2006-Sep-08, 01:01 PM
The astronomical definition is
a) the one where the season starts on the equinox/solstice
Which is what confused me since in many parts of the world, the "meteorological definition" (aka climate) also starts on about the equinox/solstice.

I mean, climate typically is shifted by at least a month relative to the solstices. The degree of shifting may change by location, but is there anywhere in the world where the hottest weather consistently straddles the summer solstice?

hhEb09'1
2006-Sep-08, 09:41 PM
But which one is which?Yeah, I was agreeing with you. In the list, they're both astronomical. The one I referred to was meteorological--which is why it would start on different days in different cities.

PS: The BA himself wrote a column complaining that starting the seasons on the equinox/solstice was Not-So-Good Astronomy (http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/badseasons.html), from the There's-A-Website-Attached-To-This-Board department.

neilzero
2006-Sep-08, 10:02 PM
Here in Jacksonville, Florida, June is often warmer than August and May is often warmer than September, so we almost straddle the solstice. I think near by hurricanes cool the latter part of summer, but we have not had 90 knot winds since 1956, but nearly all the rest of Florida has. Neil

Essan
2006-Sep-09, 02:18 PM
Actually, meteorological seasons start on the same day in every city ;) The NOAA use exactly the same periods as the UK Met Office (so in the US, autumn (fall) is 1st Sept - 30th Nov)

The whole point of starting them on the 1st of the month is that it's easier when compiling and comparing climate records.

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/dvn/climate/

hhEb09'1
2006-Sep-09, 08:15 PM
Actually, meteorological seasons start on the same day in every city ;) The NOAA use exactly the same periods as the UK Met Office (so in the US, autumn (fall) is 1st Sept - 30th Nov)Then those aren't meteorological. They're institutional. :)

Gillianren
2006-Sep-10, 02:15 AM
I mean, climate typically is shifted by at least a month relative to the solstices. The degree of shifting may change by location, but is there anywhere in the world where the hottest weather consistently straddles the summer solstice?

Depends. Back home (Los Angeles, CA), it starts hitting the 80s in maybe late April, but always by May, and stops in . . . well, okay, October, some years. So not evenly, but definitely well before and well after.