First day of summer

This forum is for comments about the weather spanning several days, developing phenomena eg drought, comparisons with previous years, local climatic features eg Cheshire Gap showers, and anything that does not fit any of the other forums.

First day of summer

Postby Peter Wright » 2012 Jun 24, 22:12

Post by Richard Hunt in Daily Discussion on Jun 21:
A very wet day with nearly constant rainfall, a bit of fog around 1700Z and one rumble of thunder.
Not good for the first day of summer.....


With regard to daylight, Jun 21 is the Middle of summer. So summer daylight-wise starts about May 6.

With regard to temperature, the annual maximum averages about July 20. If we divide the year into 4 equal seasons, this would make the start of summer about June 5. It is most convenient to treat summer as the whole months Jun, Jul and Aug. That makes June 1 the first day of summer, and this is the date used by meteorologists.

There is no sensible reason for calling Jun 21 the first day of summer, except that someone once said it, and other people including all the media have repeated it for ever after!
Edgmond, Nr Newport Shropshire. N Shropshire Plain, rain shadow of the Welsh hills, sheltered from all snow directions, exposed to Cheshire Gap showers, otherwise similar to rest of inland England.
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Re: First day of summer

Postby greg_gruner » 2012 Jun 25, 10:07

I agree that whole months are best. I have tried to find the origin of the seasons starting on the solstices and equinoxes, but have drawn a blank. It does seem rather inane, as it assumes a 6.5 week lag in temperature behind the sun, whereas it is between 4 and 5 weeks in the UK.
Philip Eden, in one of his books (I forget which) says that originally seasons were centred around farming activities, so that August was regarded as autumn because the harvest was brought in then, while February was spring because the seeds were sown. In the modern world, however, the 3-month meteorological definitions of DJF, MAM, JJA and SON fit closest to the popular perception of the seasons and to the temperature profile.

One writer to a paper spotted that June 21st was called "the first day of summer" and June 24th was called "Midsummer Day" - so concluded that summer ended on June 27th!! Maybe appropriate for this year...
Greg Gruner
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Re: First day of summer

Postby Richard Hunt » 2012 Jun 25, 16:22

Hmmmm, I was always lead to belive that on the solstice, (or thereabouts) the 21st June is the astronomical first day of summer. the sun 'pauses' for a day or two then heads south again. I know meterologicaly it's June the 1st, but I've always used June 21st. I did not think this was/would be a problem.
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Re: First day of summer

Postby Peter Wright » 2012 Jun 26, 11:49

Not really a 'problem', just illogical and an annoyance. It can lead to statements such as:

Dec 15:"Heavy snows, roads blocked -- and it isn't even winter yet!"
Edgmond, Nr Newport Shropshire. N Shropshire Plain, rain shadow of the Welsh hills, sheltered from all snow directions, exposed to Cheshire Gap showers, otherwise similar to rest of inland England.
Peter Wright
 
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Location: Edgmond, northeast Shropshire

Re: First day of summer

Postby greg_gruner » 2012 Jun 26, 14:57

Wikipedia has the following:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer

Needless to say, it's complex and the definition varies from place to place!
Greg Gruner
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Re: First day of summer

Postby Richard Hunt » 2012 Jun 26, 15:55

At the time of summer solstice, around June 20 or 21, the sun is directly overhead at noon at the Tropic of Cancer.

In the Northern Hemisphere the longest day and shortest night of the year occur on this date, marking the beginning of summer.

This has surely always been the case, and always will be!.

As for "Dec 15:"Heavy snows, roads blocked -- and it isn't even winter yet!", that statement would be true, it would be very late autumn (astronomically speaking), and winter would appear on or about 21st December.

Whats illogical about that?.
COL Station: 25020.

Watson W-8681 AWS. Standard Stevenson Screen. Maximum and Minimum screen thermometers. Grass minimum thermometer.
5" Copper standard rain gauge. Roof mounted annemometer.
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Location: Hornsea, East Yorkshire. 10m AMSL

Re: First day of summer

Postby greg_gruner » 2012 Jun 26, 16:26

Surely from an astronomical point of view, it make more sense to CENTRE summer on the solstice, i.e. it would run from around May 5th to August 5th? I don't understand the logic of starting the summer when the sun has reached its highest point and ending it when it is half way to the lowest point...
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Re: First day of summer

Postby Richard Hunt » 2012 Jun 26, 17:14

Jun 21~Sept 21----Summer
Sep 21~Dec 21---- Autumn
Dec 21~Mar 21----Winter
Mar 21~Jun 21--- Spring

Four equal parts. Just because the sun is heading south again makes no odds, I know it seems stupid, but it's always been this way. I think (I'm sure I've read it somewhere) in ancient times we only had summer and winter and therefore mid-summers day on the 21st June may have been just that- midsummer.
Meterologically its the 1st instead of the 21st, and I of course use that method for weather realted things, but 'offically' it's June 21..

If I've got this totally wrong I apologise but I'm sure it's correct. I know I'm not the brightest tool in the box, and I'm very sure most if not all other observers on this site are far far smarter than me, but I've being an amateur astronomer for 34 years, and I've read this in just about every book I've got regarding the solstice etc.

As I say, I'm not proud and if it's wrong, then it's wrong...........
COL Station: 25020.

Watson W-8681 AWS. Standard Stevenson Screen. Maximum and Minimum screen thermometers. Grass minimum thermometer.
5" Copper standard rain gauge. Roof mounted annemometer.
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Re: First day of summer

Postby Peter Wright » 2012 Jun 26, 17:45

If, as an astronomer, you choose to DEFINE summer as "The period from high sun solstice to next equinox" then that might well suit your astronomical purposes. But there's no point in relating THAT definition to the weather, or having any reason to be surprised if the warmest weather occurs outside that season.
Edgmond, Nr Newport Shropshire. N Shropshire Plain, rain shadow of the Welsh hills, sheltered from all snow directions, exposed to Cheshire Gap showers, otherwise similar to rest of inland England.
Peter Wright
 
Posts: 55
Joined: 2011 Oct 07, 16:35
Location: Edgmond, northeast Shropshire

Re: First day of summer

Postby Richard Hunt » 2012 Jun 26, 18:24

Not only do I define summer as that, I belive it's the correct definition too, and I'm not in the least suprised if the weather is warm outside any given season.
I do not relate that definition to the weather either, I use the first of June as the start of summer for all weather purposes so there is no confustion.

I was pulled up a few months ago for using the term 'sea breeze' when I should have said 'Easterly wind', I'm sorry I'm not as clever as you all.

Am I detecting a little weather 'eliteism' here.
COL Station: 25020.

Watson W-8681 AWS. Standard Stevenson Screen. Maximum and Minimum screen thermometers. Grass minimum thermometer.
5" Copper standard rain gauge. Roof mounted annemometer.
Richard Hunt
 
Posts: 374
Joined: 2012 Jan 27, 19:23
Location: Hornsea, East Yorkshire. 10m AMSL

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