Meteorological seasons

By Meteorologist Mike Skurko

With the calendar rolling over to September, many people are ready to start calling it an end to the summer season.  More traditionally, Labor Day weekend is commonly referred to as the “unofficial end of summer.”  For meteorologists…September 1st is the end, as today marks the beginning of meteorological fall.

So what is “meteorological fall?”  It is simply defined as the entire months of September, October, and November.  While the weather across the globe changes with each season, the definition of the four seasons comes from astronomy (space), not meteorology (weather).  Meteorologists noticed that weather patterns do not follow the normal course of the seasons exactly.  The meteorological seasons are defined as follows:

Winter: December, January, February
Spring: March, April, May
Summer: June, July, August
Fall: September, October, November

Shifting the seasons would allow data to be compiled more easily, and analyzed in a more useful manner.  An example of this can be seen right here in the Pioneer Valley.  Every now and then you will see the almanac for Bradley International, which includes the average temperatures for that particular date.  If you follow them closely over the course of the year, you’ll see that our average high temperature peaks at 86 degrees from July 20 – 23.  While these dates are only a month into summer, it is more in the middle of “meteorological summer.”  Likewise, our average high temperature stays at 34 degrees from January 4 – 31.  This correlates more with the middle of “meteorological winter.”

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