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Met Office Season Dates seem innaccurate and unhelpful - AIBU?

(34 Posts)
Defenbaker Thu 21-Jan-21 21:03:55

The Met Office divides the year neatly into seasons, each lasting 3 months. The dates are fairly arbitrary, to aid with collating statistics and assessing weather patterns over time, but I feel that defining each season as lasting exactly 3 months makes the dates unrealistic and quite unhelpful, especially for gardeners. For example, spring officially begins on 1st March, but the weather is often quite wintry then. Summer officially begins 1st June, which seems too late, as it is only 3 weeks before the longest day, and we often have quite hot weather in the latter part of May. Winter begins 1 December but December is often quite mild, with the worst weather being in January and Febrary.

I think these dates would work better to guide people's expectations, but they would involve the seasons having varying lengths, as under:

Spring: 15 March to 14 May (2 months)
Summer: 15 May to 14 September (4 months)
Autumn: 15 September to 14 December (3 months)
Winter: 15 December to 14 March (3 months)

I realise the Met Office is unlikely to ever change its ways, but if they did adopt my system, at least people wouldn't be muttering "It's meant to be spring - but what awful weather this is" in early March, when the weather is often dire. Also, it overcomes the current situation where summer officially begins just 3 weeks before the longest day of the year.

So, what do others think?
YABU - The Met Office seasons are just arbitrary dates and no one really cares.
or
YANBU - The current dates used by the Met Office could do with updating.

PS: Yes, I have too much time on my hands... redundancy and lockdown mean spring can't come soon enough for me, but I don't believe it will arrive 1st March.

OP’s posts: |
vodkaredbullgirl Thu 21-Jan-21 21:07:05

You have too much time on your hands lol. Don't think seasons work now, they all fucked up.

jimmyhill Thu 21-Jan-21 21:09:33

Season timing differs West to East and North to South...

BullshitVivienne Thu 21-Jan-21 21:11:01

I refuse to be a winter baby. I'm a spring baby!

PurpleWh1teGreen Thu 21-Jan-21 21:11:42

Well I’d vote for a longer summer, but is there any chance of cutting winter to an absolute minimum and having a longer spring as well?

SparklyLeprechaun Thu 21-Jan-21 21:11:46

I'm in Scotland. Summer is 3 days in early June.

ClutchingMyPearlsAppropriately Thu 21-Jan-21 21:13:04

This is how I use it for my own personal plans (didn't even realise The Met Office does. Just never checked) but I'm well aware nature really just does what it wants to do, so it isn't set in stone.

Summer really doesn't last 4 months in the UK, unless it's a 'good summery year'.

1Morewineplease Thu 21-Jan-21 21:13:49

I'm going to follow this for my seed planting. Whereabouts are you so that I can adjust.
Really helpful thank you. ( I've always been too slavish to traditional dates.)

ClutchingMyPearlsAppropriately Thu 21-Jan-21 21:15:45

Clicked YABU and meant I personally divide the seasons like The Met Office does. Always have.

FiveFootTwoEyesOfBlue Thu 21-Jan-21 21:15:48

Spring = March, April, May
Summer = June, July, August
Autumn = September, October, November
Winter = December, January, February
Makes sense to me.
Not the nonsense of things like Summer starting on the Solstice.

megletthesecond Thu 21-Jan-21 21:18:51

I think you're being a bit optimistic about our summer there.

slashlover Thu 21-Jan-21 21:20:58

For example, spring officially begins on 1st March, but the weather is often quite wintry then. Summer officially begins 1st June, which seems too late, as it is only 3 weeks before the longest day, and we often have quite hot weather in the latter part of May.

Average temperature for May in Scotland is low-mid 50s.

SquishySquirmy Thu 21-Jan-21 21:22:52

It is arbitrary, but whatever dates you pick would be arbitrary! Gardeners just have to use common sense and information about their local area, I don't know anyone daft enough to plan their gardening around the official start of spring??
I'm in Northern Scotland, so the dates you propose wouldn't work for me anyway! Because the physical arrival of Spring occurs at different times across the country, varies year on year and is hard to define. (The first daffodils? The last frost? The first bluebells? The first day when you feel comfortable wearing a light jacket? The first day drying washing outside? The first morning that the air smells of new growth? The first blossom?)

It has to be arbitrary, so it might as well be simple and easy to understand with each season the same length.

Besiegedbykillersquirrels Thu 21-Jan-21 21:24:41

Is it really such a huge inconvenience to you if people moan about the weather? Isn't that just what we do? The weather doesn't know about the Gregorian calendar and just does its own thing. There's absolutely no guarantee of nice weather even if you wish to declare summer on 15th May! Do you really think that will actually change the weather? Most adults have seen enough (non) summers to understand that weather is not guaranteed, despite the month or the season. It snowed the day my grandfather was born in May. I don't think the reasons of it being helpful to gardeners or stopping you from hearing, "It's meant to be spring" are good enough reasons to alter the timings of the seasons I'm afraid.

Probablygreen Thu 21-Jan-21 21:25:12

I think 2020 was the first year I’ve ever known where the weather perfectly matched the seasons (if you go by the 21st being the start/end date rather than 1st). 21st March - 21st June was lovely and spring like. We did get a nice summer June-September but I remember thinking on 21st September that it suddenly felt Autumnal. And winter definitely started on 21st December. I have never known the seasons be so defined. I wonder if we’ll get that again this year...

BidensWingWoman Thu 21-Jan-21 21:27:19

Well why don't you use the seasons based on the equinoxes instead? The astronomical seasons are closer to the dates you fancy.

SquishySquirmy Thu 21-Jan-21 21:30:53

Sorry didn't mean to be rude about those who do follow official start of Spring for gardening - I just didn't know anyone who did that. I'm a rubbish gardener anyway.

But to me, crap weather in March doesn't mean it's not Spring - I associate Spring with changeable, unpredictable weather! It is a time of change, when cold, miserable weather starts to shift into warmth an brightness. So Spring starts cold, frosty and damp.

Defenbaker Thu 21-Jan-21 21:53:22

SquishySquirmy posted:

*It is arbitrary, but whatever dates you pick would be arbitrary! Gardeners just have to use common sense and information about their local area, I don't know anyone daft enough to plan their gardening around the official start of spring??
I'm in Northern Scotland, so the dates you propose wouldn't work for me anyway! Because the physical arrival of Spring occurs at different times across the country, varies year on year and is hard to define... It has to be arbitrary, so it might as well be simple and easy to understand with each season the same length.*

@SquishySquirmy You're right, of course. I need to vote YABU in response to myself, as I realise IABU and have too much time on my hands! grin

@1Morewineplease Oh, please don't use these dates to rely on, for seed planting purposes! shock The last frost date varies all over the country, and even where I am, down on the south coast, we can get frosty nights in early May!

I've just had another [lame]brainwave... how about we use the term "sprummer" to cover the whole 6 months of spring and summer? That way if it pisses down till autumn we can say "It's been a bummer of a sprummer!" grin

OP’s posts: |
BidensWingWoman Thu 21-Jan-21 22:00:32

It is arbitrary, but whatever dates you pick would be arbitrary!

Would they? The astronomical seasons are based on where the sun is in relation to the earth. I don't see how that's arbitrary?

Defenbaker Thu 21-Jan-21 22:06:14

SparklyLeprechaun posted:

"I'm in Scotland. Summer is 3 days in early June."

Ha ha ha! grin Sorry Sparkly, I know you don't get great summers up there... when I look at the weather forecast it's often several degrees colder up there, no matter what season it is.

@Besiegedbykillersquirrels - No, it's no inconvience to me at all to hear people commenting about the weather, which is what I'm doing here, while I ponder on when spring warmth might arrive.

On a similar, but related subject, I wish they'd stop putting the clocks back and forth by an hour, twice a year. That really winds me up - utterly pointless exercise that messes with my (already screwed up) sleep pattern.

OP’s posts: |
ferntwist Thu 21-Jan-21 22:16:23

No way is May summer in most of the North or Scotland. It’s a beautiful month but it’s spring.

ferntwist Thu 21-Jan-21 22:19:00

Also all of December is most definitely winter, even in London and especially up North. The leaves have almost all gone from the trees, all fruit has been harvested and the nights are long. Much of November feels like winter too.

jcyclops Thu 21-Jan-21 22:29:44

Seasons have to be flexible with no fixed dates and lots of confusion. The main reason is so that major construction projects and government programs can be promised by the end of spring, but nobody actually knows when the end of spring actually is. Never trust a target based on seasons.
Schools will reopen in spring.
Lockdown will finish in spring.
Crossrail will be finished in summer.

LegendDairy Thu 21-Jan-21 23:01:16

I've stood outside the met office building in the rain and the app tells me it's sunny. Don't believe a word they say.

CountRostoff Thu 21-Jan-21 23:07:29

In Ireland we were all taught by the Celtic Calendar- Spring is Feb/March/Apr, Summer May/June/July, Autumn Aug/Sept/Oct and Winter Nov/Dec/Jan. Makes no sense! Nothing spring like about February in Ireland!

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