Seasons in Southern 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 below the equator i.e in the southern hemisphere, you get to see totally different seasons as compared to the places above the equator i.e in the northern hemisphere. In other words, seasons in the southern hemisphere are opposite to the seasons in the northern hemisphere.

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

So, the question of this hour is that how many seasons are there in the southern 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 southern hemisphere.

For example, not only June Solstice marks the official arrival of the first day of the winter in the southern hemisphere. But also marks the end of the fall in the southern 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 Winter season in the southern hemisphere starts on June 1 and stay till August 31.

 

Different Seasons in Southern 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 southern areas. These are Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer. The autumn occurs in the month of March. Then, winters in June, then, spring in September, and then, finally summers 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 Southern Hemisphere

SeasonsMeteorological Season DatesAstronomical Season Dates
Autumn Equinox 2021Monday, 1 March 2021Saturday, 20 March 2021
Winter Solstice 2021Tuesday, 1 June 2021Monday, 21 June 2021
Spring Equinox 2021Wednesday, 1 September 2021Thursday, 23 September 2021
Summer Solstice 2021Wednesday, 1 December 2021Wednesday, 22 December 2021
All the seasons (meteorological and astronomical) dates are strictly in accordance with the southern hemisphere of the earth.

Fall in Southern Hemisphere

autumn-in-southern-hemisphere
An image of the first day of fall i.e autumn in Australia. Image Credit: Australian Broadcasting Corporation

The Fall or simply the Autumn season in the southern hemisphere comes in the month of March. Not to mention, as per meteorological definition, the fall starts on March 1 and stays till May 31. However, as per astronomical definition, the first day of fall occurs on the eve of March Equinox.

In 2021, March Equinox will occur on Saturday, March 20, at sharp 21:37 Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT). 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 southern areas start to cool down rapidly. Hence, marking the end of the summers and the arrival of the first day of fall in the southern hemisphere.

Additionally, on the eve of March 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 southern hemisphere, this process of shorter days longer nights will go on until the arrival of the June solstice that marks the end of the fall and the arrival of winters in Earth’s southern areas.

Winter in Southern Hemisphere

winter-in-southern-hemisphere
An image of the first day of winter i.e winter solstice in Australia. Image Credit: OLIVER PELLING

The hibernal or simply winter season in the southern hemisphere comes in the month of June. Not to mention, as per meteorological definition, the winter starts on June 1 and stays till August 31. However, as per astronomical definition, the first day of winter occurs on the eve of the June Solstice.

In 2021, June Solstice will occur on Monday, June 21, at sharp 13:32 Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST). On this day, the south pole of the earth is at its maximum tilt away from the sun. Therefore, as a result, the earth’s southern areas receive minimum sunlight. Hence, marking the darkest as well as the shortest day of the year in the southern hemisphere.

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

Spring in Southern Hemisphere

spring-in-southern-hemisphere
This is how Australia will look like after the occurrence of the September equinox. Image Credit: TripSavvy

The Vernal or simply the Spring season in the southern hemisphere comes in the month of September. Not to mention, as per meteorological definition, the spring starts on September 1 and stays till November 30. However, as per astronomical definition, the first day of spring occurs on the eve of September Equinox.

In 2021, September Equinox will occur on Thursday, September 23, at sharp 5:21 Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST). 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 southern areas start to warm up rapidly. Hence, marks the end of winters and the arrival of the first day of spring in the southern hemisphere.

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

Summer in Southern Hemisphere

summer-in-southern-hemisphere
A bird during the summer heat in the southern hemisphere

The Estival or simply summer season in the southern hemisphere comes in the month of December. Not to mention, as per meteorological definition, the summer starts on December 1 and stays till February 28 (February 29 in a Leap Year). However, as per astronomical definition, the first day of summer occurs on the eve of the December Solstice.

In 2021, the December solstice will occur on Wednesday, December 22, at sharp 02:59 Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST). On this day, the south pole of the earth is at its maximum tilt towards the sun. Therefore, as a result, the earth’s southern areas receive the maximum sunlight. Hence, marking the brightest as well as the longest day of the year in the southern hemisphere.

Additionally, on the eve of the December solstice, for the southerners, not only the sun’s orbital path across the sky will be as high 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.

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