What is winter?

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Feb 19 21:17:23 UTC 2010

To phrase the issue somewhat differently, even if we assume that the
seasons are phased by six months in one hemisphere compared to the
other, does that mean that the vernal equinox falls on a different
date in Australia than it does in the US and Europe? In other words,
are the terms for exuinoxes and solstices attached to the dates (and
thus astronomical seasons) or to the relative (meteorological)
seasons? If we translate a word in some other language that only
(normally) occurs in the Southern hemisphere as "winter" do we mean
"winter" in the Euro-American "solar" sense (which presents no problem
in Asia either) or in the climatological sense (reversing the
seasons)? Simply put, is Antarctic "winter" really "summer"? ;-)


PS: Yes, of course, it should make no difference which *dates* we take
to be the season boundaries, in this case, just as long as we take the
bulk of the overlapping seasons to represent them generally.

On Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 3:23 PM, Mark Mandel <thnidu at gmail.com> wrote:
> Astronomical seasons are the same hemisphere-wide (Northern or Southern),
> but the hemispheres are half a year out of phase with each other. No?
> m a m
> On Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 12:07 AM, James Smith <jsmithjamessmith at yahoo.com>wrote:
>> Meteorologists define seasons differently than astronomers.  I'm currently
>> involved in an appeal concerning a mine permit, and one of the issues that
>> has been raised is whether astronomical or meteorological seasons are the
>> referent for "seasonal".  Astronomical seasons are the same worldwide:
>> meteorological seasons vary with longitude, latitude, altitude, and other
>> local factors; hence, many "two season" jokes are meteorologically sound.
>> James D. SMITH

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