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Is it Spring Yet?


Spring has sprung! Or has it?

This is largely dependent on whose definition of springtime you wish to adhere to, meteorological or astronomical.

From a meteorological standpoint, today, the 1st of March, is the first day of spring. This is down to the fact that the seasons are split exactly between three months per season which means spring is March, April and May whilst summer is June, July and August. The seasons are organised in this way in accordance with the Gregorian calendar to make it simpler for meteorological observing and forecasting.

Meanwhile, from an astronomical standpoint, we're not quite out of winter yet! According to the astronomical calender, springtime does not begin until March the 20th, running until 21st June 2015. These dates are arrived at via a fairly more complex process than meteorological spring. Calculating astronomical spring involves taking into consideration the 23.5 degree tilt of the Earth's rotational axis in relation to its orbit around the sun. Therefore the date of spring is not fixed and varies from year to year depending on the equinoxes which take place in spring and autumn as well as the solstices which take place in summer and winter.

So which definition are we to go by? The optimistic among us may prefer to lunge onto the meteorological definition of springtime. Those of a more pessimistic persuasion may be inclined to favour the astronomical date for spring as being more realistic (especially those of us living north of the border!) Whilst it is true the days are becoming longer, the milder weather associated with spring feels like it hasn't taken hold just yet. We've yet to witness the full beauty of spring flowers blooming in all their glory.

March the 1st or March the 20th; which date are you inclined to view as the beginning of spring?

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