It’s Winter! (If You Ask a Meteorologist)
The start of December means the start of a new season, at least if you ask your favorite meteorologist.
Meteorological winter began on Tuesday with the start of the month December. Unlike the astronomical (traditional) definition, meteorologists divide seasons into three month blocks, thus meteorological winter falls during the months of December, January and February. Meteorological spring is March, April and May; summer is June, July and August and autumn is September, October and November.
Why does this matter? It’s how official weather statistics are marked. So for example, when meteorologists say New York City recorded its warmest autumn on record in 2015, it means the city had its warmest combined September, October and November on record; not September 23rd through December 21st, or 2015’s astronomical autumn.
On December 21st, the tilt of the earth means the sun’s rays will directly be over the Tropic of Capricorn. This is the start of astrological winter. For the northern hemisphere, December 21st will have the least sunlight of any day of the year, while the opposite will be true for the southern hemisphere.
Peeking ahead to meteorological winter, it’s expected to be a mild one for most of the U.S., partially thanks to a strong El Niño.
So there you have it: meteorological winter is upon us, and as always, we’ll be tracking all the snow and cold that comes with it.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi
(Headline Image:David Crowl Photography – Daniels Park Overlook near Castle Pines, CO)