Autumn has long been my favourite season – I just love it when the leaves turn golden brown, the sun goes low in the sky and the nights start drawing in – but I’ve never actually worked out when it officially begins in the UK.
[Regents Park, London Oct 2010]
I’ve always thought that Autumn started somewhere in October, but others have been quick to point out that it’s marked by the Autumn equinox near the end of September.
But September still feels like Summer to me.
[Russell Square, London October 2010]
Wikipedia doesn’t make things much clearer either:
Autumn is one of the four temperate seasons. Autumn marks the transition from summer into winter usually in September (Northern Hemisphere) or March (Southern Hemisphere) when the arrival of night becomes noticeably earlier.
The equinoxes might be expected to be in the middle of their respective seasons, but temperature lag (caused by the thermal latency of the ground and sea) means that seasons appear later than dates calculated from a purely astronomical perspective. The actual lag varies with region. Some cultures regard the autumnal equinox as “mid-autumn”, others with a longer lag treat it as the start of autumn
[Central park NYC, November 2002]
So, when does Autumn officially start? Or is there no such thing as an ‘official’ start to the season?
Add your thoughts below, or join in with the very lively discussion about this on our bulletin boards.