Seasons in Northern Hemisphere & its Bizarre Consequences

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The Equator divides the Earth into northern and southern hemispheres. Therefore, as a result, if you are living in the places above the equator i.e in the northern hemisphere, you get to see totally different seasons as compared to the places below the equator i.e in the southern hemisphere. In other words, seasons in the northern hemisphere are opposite to the seasons in the southern hemisphere.

For example, when there is summer in the northern hemisphere, at the same time, there is winter in the southern hemisphere. Just to mention, I am going to explain seasons in the northern hemisphere. However, you can check this article to know more about the seasons in the southern hemisphere and their bizarre consequences.

So, the question of this hour is that how many seasons are there in the northern hemisphere? I mean, do we have four seasons, or do we have six seasons? Additionally, when these seasons occur, or do their date changes every year? Most importantly, why do we observe seasons in the first place? Well, if you wanna get a detailed insight, I will suggest you stick with me till the end. Let’s dive right in…!!!

Why do we have seasons?

Just because the earth has an axial tilt of 23.4 degrees, we are able to observe different seasons. In fact, the earth’s tilt is also responsible for the seasonal mismatch between the northern and the southern hemisphere. So, here is my question for you…!!! What if there was no axial tilt?

earth's-tilt-reason-for-seasons
Earth’s axial tilt (obliquity) is currently about 23.4°. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Well, if there was no axial tilt, there won’t be any season on the earth’s surface. In fact, this formula is also applicable to all of the planets in our solar system. For example, Mercury doesn’t have any axial tilt. Therefore, as a result, it does not have any seasons.

On the other hand, Neptune has an axial tilt of 28.5 degrees. Therefore, as a result, Neptune does have noticeable seasonal changes. With this, we can move on to our next question…!!!

How many seasons are there?

Frankly speaking, different cultures have different ways to define that how many seasons are there. For example, as per Indians, (I am an Indian), we have 6 seasons in a calendar year. Since a calendar year has 12 months, therefore, we allot two months to each season.

These are Late Winter (mid-Jan to mid-March), Spring (mid-March to mid-May), Summer (mid-May to mid-July), Monsoon (mid-July to mid-September), Autumn (mid-Sept to mid-Nov), and, Early Winter (mid-Nov to mid-Jan).

However, if we talk about some common ground, as per fundamentally accepted seasons, we have only four seasons in a calendar year. Again, since a calendar year has 12 months, therefore, each season lasts about three months. These are Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.

Definition of Seasons

There are two ways to define seasons. These are the astronomical and meteorological definitions of seasons. As per astronomy, the arrival of equinoxes and solstices marks the beginning as well as the end of the seasons in the northern hemisphere.

For example, not only March Equinox marks the official arrival of the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. But also marks the end of the winters in the northern hemisphere.

On the other hand, in meteorology, equinoxes and solstices are not considered for the seasonal definition. As per meteorological definitions, seasons start on the first day of the month. For example, the spring season in the northern hemisphere starts on March 1 and stay till May 31.

Different Seasons in Northern Hemisphere

earth's-illumination-during-different-season-in-different-hemisphere
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In total, there are four seasons that occur in the earth’s northern areas. These are Spring, Summer, Autumn, and, Winter. The spring occurs in the month of March. Then, summer in June, then, autumn in September, and then, finally winter in December.

Not to mention, their start and end date change as per their astronomical and meteorological definitions. Let us get to know each one of them in detail. But before going ahead, take a look at the table given below.

Seasons in Northern Hemisphere

SeasonsMeteorological Season DatesAstronomical Season Dates
Spring EquinoxMonday, 1 March 2021Saturday, 20 March 2021
Summer SolsticeTuesday, 1 June 2021Monday, 21 June 2021
Autumn EquinoxWednesday, 1 September 2021Thursday, 22 September 2021
Winter SolsticeWednesday, 1 December 2021Tuesday, 21 December 2021
All the seasons (meteorological and astronomical) dates are strictly in accordance with the northern hemisphere of the earth.

Spring in Northern Hemisphere

spring-in-northern-hemisphere
An image of the first day of the spring of the Indian Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Image Credit: Glyph Web

The Vernal or simply the Spring in the northern hemisphere comes in the month of March. Not to mention, as per meteorological definition, the spring starts on March 1 and stays till May 31. However, as per astronomical definition, the first day of spring occurs on the eve of March Equinox.

In 2021, March Equinox will occur on Saturday, March 20, at sharp 5:37 Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). On this day, the sun crosses over the imaginary celestial line from the south to the north direction. Therefore, as a result, the earth’s northern areas start to warm up rapidly. Hence, marking the end of the winters and the arrival of the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere.

Additionally, on the eve of March Equinox, daylight and nighttime hours become equal. And, with that, the day will get longer and longer with each passing day. For the people of the northern hemisphere, this process of longer days and shorter nights will go on until the arrival of the June solstice that marks the end of spring and the arrival of the summers in the earth’s northern areas.

Summer in Northern Hemisphere

summer-in-northern-hemisphere
An image of the first day of summer i.e summer season in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. Image Credit: Tour My India

The Estival or simply summer in the northern hemisphere comes in the month of June. As per meteorological definition, the summer starts on June 1 and stays till August 31. However, as per astronomical definition, the first day of summer occurs on the eve of the June solstice.

In 2021, the June solstice will occur on Monday, June 21, at sharp 03:32 Universal Coordinated Time (UTC). On this day, the north pole of the earth is at its maximum tilt towards the sun. Therefore, as a result, marking the brightest as well as the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.

Additionally, on the eve of the June solstice, for the northerners, not only the sun’s orbital path across the sky will be as high as it can, but the sun will also enter the tropic of cancer on the eve of the June Solstice.

Fall in Northern Hemisphere

first-day-of-fall-in-northern-hemisphere
Autumn season in Indian Union Territory Of Jammu and Kashmir. Image Credit: The Statesman

The Autumn or simply fall in the northern hemisphere comes in the month of September. As per meteorological definition, the fall starts on September 1 and stays till November 30. However, as per astronomical definition, the first day of fall occurs on the eve of September Equinox.

In 2021, the September Equinox will occur on Wednesday, September 22, at sharp 19:21 Universal Time Coordinate (UTC). On this day, the sun crosses over the imaginary celestial line from the north to the south direction. Therefore, as a result, the earth’s northern areas start to cool down rapidly. Hence marking the end of the summers and the arrival of the first day of fall in the northern hemisphere.

Additionally, on the eve of September Equinox, daylight and nighttime hours become equal. And, after that, days will become shorter and shorter with each passing day. For the people of the northern hemisphere, this process of shorter days and longer nights will go on until the arrival of the December solstice that marks the arrival of the winter season in Earth’s northern areas.

Winter in Northern Hemisphere

winter-in-northern-hemisphere
Winter season in Indian Union Territory Of Jammu and Kashmir. Image Credit: Travel Triangle

The hibernal or simply winter season in the northern hemisphere comes in the month of December. As per meteorological definition, the winter starts on December 1 and stays till February 28 (February 29 in a Leap Year). However, as per astronomical definition, the first day of winter occurs on the eve of the December Solstice.

In 2021, the December solstice will occur on Tuesday, December 21, at sharp 15:59 Universal Coordinated Time (UTC). On this day, the north pole of the earth is at its maximum tilt away from the sun. Therefore, as a result, the earth’s northern areas receive minimum sunlight. Hence, marking the darkest as well as the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.

Additionally, on the eve of the December solstice, for the northerners, not only the sun’s orbital path across the sky will be as low as it can, but the sun also enters the tropic of Capricorn on the eve of the December solstice.

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I am a mechanical engineer by profession. Just because of my love for fundamental physics, I switched my career, and therefore I did my postgraduate degree in physics. Right now I am a loner (as ever) and a Physics blogger too. My sole future goal is to do a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, especially in the field of cosmology. Because in my view, every aspect of physics comes within the range of cosmology. And I love traveling, especially the Sole one.

2 thoughts on “Seasons in Northern Hemisphere & its Bizarre Consequences”

  1. Hello. Atul,. The solar solstices. The sun accelerates from the solstice position on the horizon to the equinox position on the horizon to the other solstice position. At the solstice positions, the sun dances on the horizons.

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  2. Typos! The sun decelerates from the equinox to the solstice. Acceleration and deceleration and the only model is the neo-zoroasterism model. Formerly the neo-heraclidean model.

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