It seems I‘ve been harboring under an illusion every since I can remember.
You see in my part of the world, commonly known as the Southern Hemisphere, today is the first of September. It’s a day I pretty much look forward to every year. Why you might ask?
By my calculation (and I don’t need a Groundhog or any other critter to tell me) today heralds the first day of Spring. Right? Wrong.
In fact it’s so, so wrong. You see technically speaking Spring has not even begun to sprung if you get my meaning. It’s all to do with the astronomical calendar.
In the true sense of the word, Spring begins on or around the 21st of September. Apparently the date varies by a day or so each year. This is known as the Spring Equinox. It is the beginning of when the southern hemisphere starts to receive more sun than the northern hemisphere.
There is a good scientific explanation for why this occurs as it does. It has everything to do with the 23.5 degree tilt of the earth’s axis. Don’t ask me to give you further and better particulars. Science was never my subject at school.
The reality is, astronomically speaking, it’s not actually spring yet.
But not everyone who is in a position to know is prepared to go with the science. Australia’s austere, if not occasionally inaccurate Bureau of Meteorology, is sticking to its guns and backing the 1st of September.
The Bureau says it’s easier for everybody if spring begins on the first day of the month from a record keeping point of view. They figure, quite rightly, that if you started making the seasons start on the 21st of the month it would only succeed in confusing people. So all the seasons start on the first of the month and nobody gets confused
But today I am a little confused. Like I said I have always thought the 1st of September is the first day of Spring. And if you were living in my patch today you would think exactly the same way. The sun is shining, it’s nice and warm and there’s every reason to be happy because from now on the weather’s only going to get warmer.
But if I was to be completely objective there is quite a bit of merit in the seasons beginning on the 21st of the month. I’m sure people who live in the northern hemisphere will struggle to get their heads around this but our hottest months are December, January and February. The month of March, normally signifies the start of our fall or autumn. But according to the record keepers March is almost identical to December in terms of average maximum temperatures. In fact if there is a difference it is only by half a degree.
Now before you start accusing me of banging on about nothing. Consider this. People in the Northern Hemisphere who think they have officially seen the last day of summer haven’t. In fact there are at least another three weeks before you can kiss Summer goodbye. There. I’ve made your day.