Spring (season)

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Colorful spring garden flowers Colorful spring garden.jpg
Colorful spring garden flowers

Spring, also known as springtime is one of the four temperate seasons, following winter and preceding summer. There are various technical definitions of spring, but local usage of the term varies according to local climate, cultures and customs. When it is spring in the Northern Hemisphere, it is autumn in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa. At the spring (or vernal) equinox, days and nights are approximately twelve hours long, with day length increasing and night length decreasing as the season progresses.

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Spring and "springtime" refer to the season, and also to ideas of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth. Subtropical and tropical areas have climates better described in terms of other seasons, e.g. dry or wet, monsoonal or cyclonic. Cultures may have local names for seasons which have little equivalence to the terms originating in Europe.

Meteorological reckoning

Meteorologists generally define four seasons in many climatic areas: spring, summer, autumn (fall) and winter. These are demarcated by the values of their average temperatures on a monthly basis, with each season lasting three months. The three warmest months are by definition summer, the three coldest months are winter and the intervening gaps are spring and autumn. Spring, when defined in this manner, can start on different dates in different regions.

Thus, in the US and UK, spring months are March, April and May, [1] [2] while in New Zealand [3] and Australia, [4] spring conventionally begins on September 1 and ends November 30.

Swedish meteorologists define the beginning of spring as the first occasion on which the average daytime temperature exceeds zero degrees Celsius for seven consecutive days, thus the date varies with latitude and elevation. [5]

Astronomical and solar reckoning

Astronomical (Northern Hemisphere)|vernal equinox seen from the site of Pizzo Vento at Fondachelli Fantina, Sicily Equinozio da Pizzo Vento,tramonto fondachelli fantina, sicilia.JPG
Astronomical (Northern Hemisphere)|vernal equinox seen from the site of Pizzo Vento at Fondachelli Fantina, Sicily

In some cultures in the Northern Hemisphere (e.g. Germany), the astronomical vernal equinox (varying between 19 and 21 March) is taken to mark the first day of spring, and the summer solstice (around 21 June) is taken as the first day of summer. In Persian culture the first day of spring is the first day of the first month (called Farvardin) which begins on 20 or 21 March. In other traditions, the equinox is taken as mid-spring.

In the traditional Chinese calendar, the "spring" season ( ) consists of the days between Lichun (February 3–5), taking Chunfen (March 20–22) as its midpoint, then ending at Lixia (May 5–7). Similarly, according to the Celtic tradition, which is based solely on daylight and the strength of the noon sun, spring begins in early February (near Imbolc or Candlemas) and continues until early May (Beltane).

Ecological reckoning

The beginning of spring is not always determined by fixed calendar dates. The phenological or ecological definition of spring relates to biological indicators, such as the blossoming of a range of plant species, the activities of animals, and the special smell of soil that has reached the temperature for micro flora to flourish. These indicators, along with the beginning of spring, vary according to the local climate and according to the specific weather of a particular year. Some ecologists divide the year into six seasons. [6] In addition to spring, ecological reckoning identifies an earlier separate prevernal (early or pre-spring) season between the hibernal (winter) and vernal (spring) seasons. This is a time when only the hardiest flowers like the crocus are in bloom, sometimes while there is still some snowcover on the ground. [7]

Natural events

Hundreds of sour cherry blooming in Extremadura, Spain, during spring Camino entre el bosque de cerezos en flor.jpg
Hundreds of sour cherry blooming in Extremadura, Spain, during spring
A blooming field of garland chrysanthemum, a typical spring flower in Israel Teva 17 3 (69).JPG
A blooming field of garland chrysanthemum, a typical spring flower in Israel
A willow in Stockholm in April 2016 Spring in Stockholm 2016 (2).jpg
A willow in Stockholm in April 2016

During early spring, the axis of the Earth is increasing its tilt relative to the Sun, and the length of daylight rapidly increases for the relevant hemisphere. The hemisphere begins to warm significantly, causing new plant growth to "spring forth," giving the season its name. [8]

Any snow begins to melt, swelling streams with runoff and any frosts become less severe. In climates that have no snow, and rare frosts, air and ground temperatures increase more rapidly.

Many flowering plants bloom at this time of year, in a long succession, sometimes beginning when snow is still on the ground and continuing into early summer. [9] In normally snowless areas, "spring" may begin as early as February (Northern Hemisphere) or August (Southern Hemisphere), heralded by the blooming of deciduous magnolias, cherries, and quince. [10] Many temperate areas have a dry spring, and wet autumn (fall), which brings about flowering in this season, more consistent with the need for water, as well as warmth. Subarctic areas may not experience "spring" at all until May.

While spring is a result of the warmth caused by the changing orientation of the Earth's axis relative to the Sun, the weather in many parts of the world is affected by other, less predictable events. The rainfall in spring (or any season) follows trends more related to longer cyclessuch as the solar cycle or events created by ocean currents and ocean temperaturesfor example, the El Niño effect and the Southern Oscillation Index.

Unstable spring weather may occur more often when warm air begins to invade from lower latitudes, while cold air is still pushing from the Polar regions. Flooding is also most common in and near mountainous areas during this time of year, because of snow-melt which is accelerated by warm rains. In North America, Tornado Alley is most active at this time of year, especially since the Rocky Mountains prevent the surging hot and cold air masses from spreading eastward, and instead force them into direct conflict. Besides tornadoes, supercell thunderstorms can also produce dangerously large hail and very high winds, for which a severe thunderstorm warning or tornado warning is usually issued. Even more so than in winter, the jet streams play an important role in unstable and severe Northern Hemisphere weather in springtime. [11]

In recent decades, season creep has been observed, which means that many phenological signs of spring are occurring earlier in many regions by around two days per decade.[ citation needed ]

Spring in the Southern Hemisphere is different in several significant ways to that of the Northern Hemisphere for several reasons, including:

  1. There is no land bridge between Southern Hemisphere countries and the Antarctic zone capable of bringing in cold air without the temperature-mitigating effects of extensive tracts of water;
  2. The vastly greater amount of ocean in the Southern Hemisphere at most latitudes;
  3. At this time in Earth's geologic history the Earth has an orbit which brings it in closer to the Southern Hemisphere for its warmer seasons;
  4. There is a circumpolar flow of air ( the roaring 40s and 50s ) uninterrupted by large land masses;
  5. No equivalent jet streams; and
  6. The peculiarities of the reversing ocean currents in the Pacific. [12]

Cultural associations

Celebration stage of 1st day of Falgun, beginning of spring season in Bangladesh, 2014 Celebration stage of 1st day, Spring (Pohela Falgun) at Faculty of Fine arts, University of Dhaka, 13 February, 2014.JPG
Celebration stage of 1st day of Falgun, beginning of spring season in Bangladesh, 2014
Holi in Nepal 2016 Holi in Nepal 2016.JPG
Holi in Nepal 2016

Carnival

Carnival is practiced by many Christians around the world in the days before Lent (40 days, without Sundays, before Easter). It is the first spring festival of the new year for many. [13]

Easter

Easter eggs, such as this Ukrainian one, signify the Resurrection of Jesus. Unfinished pysanka.jpg
Easter eggs, such as this Ukrainian one, signify the Resurrection of Jesus.

Easter is the most important religious feast in the Christian liturgical year. [14] Christians believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead on the "third day" [15] (two days after his crucifixion), and celebrate this resurrection on Easter Day, two days after Good Friday. The date of Easter varies between 22 March and 25 April (which corresponds to between 4 April and 8 May in the Gregorian Calendar for the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches using the Julian Calendar). In the Southern Hemisphere Easter occurs during autumn.

May Day

1 May is the date of many public holidays. [16] In many countries, May Day is synonymous with International Workers' Day, or Labour Day, which celebrates the social and economic achievements of the labour movement. As a day of celebration, the holiday has ancient origins, and it can relate to many customs that have survived into modern times. Many of these customs are due to May Day being a cross-quarter day, meaning that (in the Northern Hemisphere where it is almost exclusively celebrated) it falls approximately halfway between the spring equinox and summer solstice. In the Celtic tradition, this date marked the end of spring and the beginning of summer.

See also

Related Research Articles

Autumn one of the Earths four temperate seasons, occurring between summer and winter

Autumn, also known as fall in North American English, is one of the four temperate seasons. Autumn marks the transition from summer to winter, in September or March, when the duration of daylight becomes noticeably shorter and the temperature cools considerably. One of its main features in temperate climates is the shedding of leaves from deciduous trees.

Equinox Astronomical event where the Sun is directly above the Earths equator

An equinox is commonly regarded as the instant of time when the plane of Earth's equator passes through the center of the Sun. This occurs twice each year: around 20 March and 23 September. In other words, it is the moment at which the center of the visible Sun is directly above the equator.

A solstice is an event occurring when the Sun appears to reach its most northerly or southerly excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere. Two solstices occur annually, around June 21 and December 21. In many countries, the seasons of the year are determined by reference to the solstices and the equinoxes.

Summer the warmest season of the year, in the northern hemisphere from June to August and in the southern hemisphere from December to February.

Summer is the hottest of the four temperate seasons, falling after spring and before autumn. At the summer solstice, there is earliest sunrise and latest sunset, and the days are longest and the nights are shortest, with day length decreasing as the season progresses after the solstice. The date of the beginning of summer varies according to climate, tradition, and culture. When it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere, and vice versa.

Winter One of the Earths four temperate seasons, occurring between autumn and spring

Winter is the coldest season of the year in polar and temperate zones. It occurs after autumn and before spring in each year. Winter is caused by the axis of the Earth in that hemisphere being oriented away from the Sun. Different cultures define different dates as the start of winter, and some use a definition based on weather. When it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and vice versa. In many regions, winter is associated with snow and freezing temperatures. The moment of winter solstice is when the Sun's elevation with respect to the North or South Pole is at its most negative value. The day on which this occurs has the shortest day and the longest night, with day length increasing and night length decreasing as the season progresses after the solstice. The earliest sunset and latest sunrise dates outside the polar regions differ from the date of the winter solstice, however, and these depend on latitude, due to the variation in the solar day throughout the year caused by the Earth's elliptical orbit.

Seasonal lag is the phenomenon whereby the date of maximum average air temperature at a geographical location on a planet is delayed until some time after the date of maximum insolation. This also applies to the minimum temperature being delayed until some time after the date of minimum insolation.

Climate of Chicago

The climate of Chicago is classified as hot-summer humid continental, with all four seasons distinctly represented: wet, cool springs; hot and humid summers, with the temperatures being hotter inland, areas along the lakefront rarely go above 95°F (35°C) due to parts of Chicago being off Lake Michigan; pleasantly mild autumns; and cold winters with the temperatures being the coldest in the inland in the suburbs with the temperatures rarely going below -15°F (-26°C). Annual precipitation in Chicago is moderate and relatively evenly distributed, the driest months being January and February and the wettest July and August. Chicago's weather is influenced during all four seasons by the nearby presence of Lake Michigan.

Orbital forcing is the effect on climate of slow changes in the tilt of the Earth's axis and shape of the orbit. These orbital changes change the total amount of sunlight reaching the Earth by up to 25% at mid-latitudes. In this context, the term "forcing" signifies a physical process that affects the Earth's climate.

September equinox the equinox on the earth when the Sun appears to leave the nothern hemisphere and cross the celestial equator

The September equinox is the moment when the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator, heading southward. Due to differences between the calendar year and the tropical year, the September equinox can occur at any time between September 21 and 24.

March equinox the equinox on the earth when the Sun appears to leave the southern hemisphere and cross the celestial equator

The March equinox or Northward equinox is the equinox on the Earth when the subsolar point appears to leave the Southern Hemisphere and cross the celestial equator, heading northward as seen from Earth. The March equinox is known as the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and as the autumnal equinox in the Southern.

Astronomy on Mars What an observer on Mars can see in the sky

In many cases astronomical phenomena viewed from the planet Mars are the same or similar to those seen from Earth but sometimes they can be quite different. For example, because the atmosphere of Mars does not contain an ozone layer, it is also possible to make UV observations from the surface of Mars.

Winter solstice astronomical phenomenon marking the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year

The winter solstice, hiemal solstice or hibernal solstice, also known as midwinter, occurs when one of the Earth's poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere. For that hemisphere, the winter solstice is the day with the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year, when the Sun is at its lowest daily maximum elevation in the sky. At the pole, there is continuous darkness or twilight around the winter solstice. Its opposite is the summer solstice.

The climate of Delhi is an overlap between monsoon-influenced humid subtropical and semi-arid, with high variation between summer and winter temperatures and precipitation. Delhi's version of a humid subtropical climate is markedly different from many other humid subtropical cities such as Sao Paulo, New Orleans and Brisbane in that the city features dust storms and wildfire haze due to its semi-arid climate.

Summer solstice Astronomical phenomenon when Earths axial tilt toward the Sun is a maximum (currently 23.44°)

The summer solstice, also known as midsummer, occurs when one of the Earth's poles has its maximum tilt toward the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere. For that hemisphere, the summer solstice is when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky and is the day with the longest period of daylight. Within the Arctic circle or Antarctic circle, there is continuous daylight around the summer solstice. On the summer solstice, Earth's maximum axial tilt toward the Sun is 23.44°. Likewise, the Sun's declination from the celestial equator is 23.44°.

Sun path

Sun path, sometimes also called day arc, refers to the daily and seasonal arc-like path that the Sun appears to follow across the sky as the Earth rotates and orbits the Sun. The Sun's path affects the length of daytime experienced and amount of daylight received along a certain latitude during a given season.

Lists of holidays by various categorizations.

Climate of Tasmania

Tasmania has a cool temperate climate with four distinct seasons. The highest recorded maximum temperature in Tasmania is 42.2 °C (108.0 °F) at Scamander on 30 January 2009, during the 2009 southeastern Australia heat wave. Tasmania's lowest recorded minimum temperature is −13.0 °C (8.6 °F) on 30 June 1983, at Butlers Gorge, Shannon, and Tarraleah.

June solstice solstice that occurs each June

The June solstice is the solstice on the Earth that occurs each June falling on the 20th to 22nd according to the Gregorian calendar. In the Northern Hemisphere, the June solstice is the summer solstice, whilst in the Southern Hemisphere it is the winter solstice. It is also known as the northern solstice.

December solstice astronomical phenomenon; solstice that occurs each December, typically between the 20th and the 22nd day of the month according to the Gregorian calendar

The December solstice, is the solstice that occurs each December – typically on Dec 21, and can vary ± 1 day according to the Gregorian calendar. In the Northern Hemisphere, the December solstice is the winter solstice, whilst in the Southern Hemisphere it is the summer solstice. It is also known as the southern solstice.

A season is a division of the year marked by changes in weather, ecology, and the amount of daylight. On Earth, seasons are the result of Earth's orbit around the Sun and Earth's axial tilt relative to the ecliptic plane. In temperate and polar regions, the seasons are marked by changes in the intensity of sunlight that reaches the Earth's surface, variations of which may cause animals to undergo hibernation or to migrate, and plants to be dormant. Various cultures define the number and nature of seasons based on regional variations.

References

  1. "Spring". Glossary of Meteorology. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  2. "Met Office: Spring" . Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  3. "Do you want the dates of our seasons changed?". New Zealand weatherwatch. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  4. "Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Climate Glossary - Seasons". Australian Bureau of Meteorology. bom.gov.au. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  5. "Sweden braces for warm spring weather". Thelocal.se. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  6. Michael Allaby (1999). "A Dictionary of Zoology" . Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  7. Michael Allaby (1999). "A Dictionary of Zoology". Archived from the original on 2 June 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  8. Hiskey, Daven (26 September 2013). "Why Do We Call the Seasons Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter?". MentalFloss.com . Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  9. "How Do Flowers Bloom?" (15 December 2008). ScienceLine.UCSB.edu. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  10. "Top 5 Spring-Blooming Trees." Nature-and-Garden.com. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  11. https://www.weather.gov/jetstream/jet/
  12. https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/ElNino
  13. https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/common/carnival-wednesday
  14. Anthony Aveni, "The Easter/Passover Season: Connecting Time's Broken Circle," The Book of the Year: A Brief History of Our Seasonal Holidays (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 64–78.
  15. This resurrection is commonly said to have occurred "on the third day after resting for the Sabbath(Friday sundown to Saturday sundown), including the day of crucifixion." (e.g. Luke 24:21 KJV)
  16. Anthony Aveni, "May Day: A Collision of Forces," The Book of the Year: A Brief History of Our Seasonal Holidays (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 79–89.