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- Jan 23, 2008 | 1:18 PM EST
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- 4.5 MB
- 2 min 26 sec
- 3.88 / 5.00
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The seasons were previously considered by some Western countries to start at the equies and solstices, based on astronomical reckoning. In American-printed English-language calendars, based on astronomy, summer begins on the day of the summer solstice and ends on the day of the autumn equinox. When it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and vice versa.
But, because the seasonal lag is less than 1/8 of a year (except near large bodies of water), the meteorological start of the season, which is based on average temperature patterns, precedes by about three weeks the start of the astronomical season. According to meteorology, summer is the whole months of December, January, and February in the Southern Hemisphere, and the whole months of June, July, and August in the Northern Hemisphere. This meteorological definition of summer also aligns with commonly viewed notion of summer as the season with the longest (and warmest) days of the year, in which the daylight predominates, through varying degrees. The use of astronomical beginning of the seasons means that spring and summer have an almost equal pattern of the length of the days, with spring lengthening from the equinox to the soltice and summer shortening from the soltice to the equinox, while meteorological summer encompasses the build up to the longest day and decline thereafter, so that summer has many more hours of daylight than spring.
Today, the meteorological reckoning of the seasons is used in Australia, Denmark, the former USSR and by many people in the United Kingdom, but the astronomical definition is still more frequently used in the United States.
In Ireland, summer starts as early as May 1 even though July, August and September are the warmest months there. In some countries, summer begins on June 1, while in others it arrives as late as July 1. In general, seasonal changes occur later in coastal regions, so countries close to the oceans go for a later start to summer (with the exception of Ireland) than inland ones. Elsewhere, however, the solstices and the equinoxes are taken to mark the mid-points, not the beginnings, of the seasons. In Chinese astronomy, for example, summer starts on or around May 6, with the jiéqì (solar term) known as Lixia (%u7ACB%u590F), i.e. "establishment of summer". An example of Western usage would be William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, where the play takes place over the shortest night of the year, which is the summer solstice.
The climate definition of summer is the time of year during which the average temperature is higher than 10°C.
In Southern and Southeast Asia where the monsoon occurs, summer is more generally defined as March to May or early June, their warmest time of the year, ending with the onset of the monsoon rains.
[stolen from http://en.wikipedia.org/w iki/Summer]