Happy Meteorological Spring! March 1 marks the end of meteorological winter and the start of meteorological spring.
While the official start to traditional (or astronomical) spring is not until Saturday March 20, meteorologists and climatologists will start their record keeping for the spring season today.
While the traditional (astronomical) seasons are based on the Earth’s position relative to the sun, meteorological seasons are based on climatologically and temperature cycles. There are a few reasons for this, but the biggest one is consistent record keeping.
Our traditional seasons can start and end on different days based on the year. This would lead to inconsistent record keeping of weather and climate information.
Another big reason is the temperature cycles. Historically, December-February are the coldest three months of the year and June-August are the warmest. March-May and September-November are the transition months between the two extremes.
Astronomical Spring will begin on the Vernal (Spring) Equinox, which is 4:37 A.M. CDT March 20 this year. This is when the sun will be directly over the equator, leading to 12-hours of sunlight for both the northern and southern hemispheres.