SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — If these milder temperatures are making you think that spring is almost here, you’d be right in one regard.
You’ll often hear us in the weather department talk about the various meteorological seasons on top of what we observe on the calendar. So, what’s the difference? It’s all about how the seasons are grouped and why.
First, let’s talk about the astronomical seasons, the ones we follow on the calendar. These seasons are grouped based on the earth’s rotation around the sun. The tilt of the earth on its axis is the source behind our seasonal changes. Because our year is actually a little more than 365 days in duration, the exact date of each season’s start varies. Each season lasts between 89 and 93 days.
Because the start date of each season varies year by year, that would make it difficult to analyze and compare data on a year-to-year basis. This is why we also have meteorological season.
We group these seasons based on our temperature cycle. For example, meteorological winter contains the months of December, January, and February — the three coldest months on average. On the flip side, meteorological summer contains our three hottest months on average: June, July, and August. With set start and end dates, data comparison is much easier, even in a leap year.
So, while spring doesn’t “technically” start for a few more weeks, we do at least get one version of spring to hold us over until late March. Just hold off on planting for a little while longer.