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When does winter start?


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Posted
  • Location: Crowle and Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Snow
  • Location: Crowle and Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire
Yes there are some stunning wintry charts for next week, I can't quite believe what i'm seeing........not even winter for another week. B)

I hate to be pedantic, but Winter DOES NOT START until the 21st of December. If you mean the Meteorological Winter then fine, but please be crystal clear. Everyone knows the difference, the term meteorological winter is used for statistical purposes only it doesn't change the fact that Winter begins on the 21st December even if the weather itself doesn't reflect the season.

Its such a pet hate! Grrrrrr

Edit: I seem to recall this happens every year lol

Edited by rikki
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Posted
  • Location: Castle Black, the Wall, the North
  • Weather Preferences: Spanish Plumes, Blizzards, Severe Frosts :-)
  • Location: Castle Black, the Wall, the North
I hate to be pedantic, but Winter DOES NOT START until the 21st of December. If you mean the Meteorological Winter then fine, but please be crystal clear. Everyone knows the difference, the term meteorological winter is used for statistical purposes only it doesn't change the fact that Winter begins on the 21st December even if the weather itself doesn't reflect the season.

Its such a pet hate! Grrrrrr

Edit: I seem to recall this happens every year lol

I always use December 1st until February 28th.

Even though the charts for next week look choc full of potential the meto further update always leaves a sour taste, whilst I understand they have to be ultra cautious, they don't seem to suggest what is showing on the models generally and I assume they look at all the major model output before the daily updates and not just their own model.

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Posted
  • Location: Upper Tweeddale, Scottish Borders 240m ASL
  • Location: Upper Tweeddale, Scottish Borders 240m ASL

Well since this is a weather Forum and we're here to talk about meteorology - winter is Dec, Jan & Feb as that is meteorological winter.

Simple!

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Posted
  • Location: Saddleworth, Oldham , 175m asl
  • Weather Preferences: warm and sunny, thunderstorms, frost, fog, snow, windstorms
  • Location: Saddleworth, Oldham , 175m asl

Yeah I think that's the best for the forum, and anyway three months for each season makes the most sense and the weather more or less fits so it should be quite simple.

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Posted
  • Location: Weardale 300m asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow
  • Location: Weardale 300m asl

Far as I'm concerned, as a country dweller, when all the leaves are off the trees and they are bare. Which has usually happened by second half of November.

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Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

The fact of the matter is that there is no "official" start of winter, and there never has been one. The most common are the two mentioned already- the equinox based definitions (21 December-20 March) and the meteorological definition (1 December-28/29 February).

However, indeed, the 1 December start date is the official meteorological one- and the one that nearly all weather-related statistics use.

In any case, from a meteorological standpoint I struggle to consider how 20 March could be considered winter. Yes, wintry weather can happen then, but even over the outdated 1961-90 reference period average highs for 20 March were 8 to 11C.

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Posted
  • Location: Castle Black, the Wall, the North
  • Weather Preferences: Spanish Plumes, Blizzards, Severe Frosts :-)
  • Location: Castle Black, the Wall, the North
The fact of the matter is that there is no "official" start of winter, and there never has been one. The most common are the two mentioned already- the equinox based definitions (21 December-20 March) and the meteorological definition (1 December-28/29 February).

However, indeed, the 1 December start date is the official meteorological one- and the one that nearly all weather-related statistics use.

In any case, from a meteorological standpoint I struggle to consider how 20 March could be considered winter. Yes, wintry weather can happen then, but even over the outdated 1961-90 reference period average highs for 20 March were 8 to 11C.

And April can sometimes deliver wintry weather (like this year). Infact, snow is statistically more likely at easter than christmas but that is usually because our winters are ridiculously mild and spring offers more variety.

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Posted
  • Location: Berlin, Germany
  • Weather Preferences: Ample sunshine; Hot weather; Mixed winters with cold and mild spells
  • Location: Berlin, Germany

I think the meteological definitions seem most realistic since they match both temperature & sun position - i.e. all seasons have 3 weeks pre-equinox/solstice then the bulk afterwards (to allow for thermal lag).

June to me is a summer month as it's very very light with the reverse true for December. I think many people I know would include November as a winter month too! I think the spring/autumn changeovers are much less defined though...

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Posted
  • Location: Crowle and Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Snow
  • Location: Crowle and Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire

Oh it got moved to a new thread lol hmmm

Well the point I was making was the seasons follow the equinoxes that has been the accepted norm for 1000s of years (am guessing, ok so a long period of time) where as the so-called meteorological winter has been existence for a fraction of the time. The former uses a natural occurrence (the shortening and lengthening of day vs night) where as the latter uses a man-made fixed position (for convenience/laziness) - the gregorian calendar.

Edited by rikki
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Posted
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine and 15-25c
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)

i dont consider november or march to be winter months...always been dec jan feb..to suggest that the 20th dec is autumn and the 20th june is spring is taking the u kno what!!! :)

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Posted
  • Location: Crowle and Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Snow
  • Location: Crowle and Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire

To be honest I think we are all wrong.... the definitive answer is....

It starts when it wants to. :):):doh:

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Posted
  • Location: Morecambe
  • Location: Morecambe

I thought winter starts in March and ends in April, seems like it normally does these days. :)

Seriously though, i always say winter starts on the 1st Dec and ends on the 28th Feb, i don't think it really matters though does it?

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Posted
  • Location: Ashbourne,County Meath,about 6 miles northwest of dublin airport. 74m ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Cold weather - frost or snow
  • Location: Ashbourne,County Meath,about 6 miles northwest of dublin airport. 74m ASL

Winter hardly started at all the last 2 "winters" :)

Seriously though, its always been Dec 1st for me,although i often think of the 2nd half of Nov as kind of early winter

Edited by sundog
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Posted
  • Location: Dublin 131.2 feet asl (40m asl)m
  • Location: Dublin 131.2 feet asl (40m asl)m

in ireland the seasons are stupid i think it officialy starts 1st of november and ends at the end of january.

i do not agree with this it should be dec,jan,feb as the winter months :)

SP

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Posted
  • Location: Wildwood, Stafford 104m asl
  • Weather Preferences: obviously snow!
  • Location: Wildwood, Stafford 104m asl
in ireland the seasons are stupid i think it officialy starts 1st of november and ends at the end of january.

i do not agree with this it should be dec,jan,feb as the winter months :)

SP

yes it is 1st november-31st january, going by the darkest time of year, summer in ireland 1st may-31st july, lightest time of year

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Posted
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.
  • Location: Powys Mid Wales borders.

December 1st winter starts in weather,as November 1st is certainly dark short days, but brings much less snow to march which in recent years is the best winter month for snow :) I mean spring.

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Posted
  • Location: City of Gales, New Zealand, 150m ASL
  • Location: City of Gales, New Zealand, 150m ASL
In any case, from a meteorological standpoint I struggle to consider how 20 March could be considered winter. Yes, wintry weather can happen then, but even over the outdated 1961-90 reference period average highs for 20 March were 8 to 11C.

Sounds like winter to me!

I had a think about this not long ago, in rather unscientific fashion, and decided that, for me anyway, winter last from mid October until mid April. That's because if it's not dark, then it's probably cold, and if it's not cold then it's probably dark. However, April 2007 kind of ruins this definition. Alas.

I'm talking about the UK, obviously. Over here I'd say it's June to August in a general sense. May is often quite Springlike because it seems to be consistently sunny with cold nights. Indian summers in May and June seem to be in fashion the last two years, leaving July and August the only months of true winter. Daytime highs ranging from 7C at the coldest to 17C at the warmest. Abundant rainfall. September is usually too mild and dry because of the prevalence of westerly winds.

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Posted
  • Location: Putney, SW London. A miserable 14m asl....but nevertheless the lucky recipient of c 20cm of snow in 12 hours 1-2 Feb 2009!
  • Location: Putney, SW London. A miserable 14m asl....but nevertheless the lucky recipient of c 20cm of snow in 12 hours 1-2 Feb 2009!
Well the point I was making was the seasons follow the equinoxes that has been the accepted norm for 1000s of years (am guessing, ok so a long period of time) where as the so-called meteorological winter has been existence for a fraction of the time. The former uses a natural occurrence (the shortening and lengthening of day vs night) where as the latter uses a man-made fixed position (for convenience/laziness) - the gregorian calendar.

I wonder if that's really true, Rikki. If you want to talk about natural phenomena and ancient attitudes rather than the climatic experience, I think you can argue that the winter solstice was considered the middle of winter, not the beginning. Our pagan ancestors always made a big thing of it - and Christmas was moved to be close to it - presumably to celebrate the beginning of the end of the darkness, something that was probably at least as frightening to them as cold. And looking at it weather-wise, the Dec-Jan-Feb definition has been around a long time.

For myself, I find it hard to see any logic - natural or man-made, ancient or modern - to considering the 21st Dec as only the start. Still, I have to admit that some old folklore sayings suggest that Candlemas Day, the 2nd February, was sometimes reckoned to be the middle of winter - and that would imply the season (if 3 months long) running from mid-Dec to mid-March, which is not far off.

Maybe we should adopt the meteorologist H.H.Lamb's suggestion of having five seasons, not four, with 'Early winter' running from Nov 20th to Jan 19th, and 'Late winter' from Jan 20th to March 29th.

Ossie

Edited by osmposm
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Posted
  • Location: City of Gales, New Zealand, 150m ASL
  • Location: City of Gales, New Zealand, 150m ASL
I wonder if that's really true, Rikki. If you want to talk about natural phenomena and ancient attitudes rather than the climatic experience, I think you can argue that the winter solstice was considered the middle of winter, not the beginning. Our pagan ancestors always made a big thing of it - and Christmas was moved to be close to it - presumably to celebrate the beginning of the end of the darkness, something that was probably at least as frightening to them as cold. And looking at it weather-wise, the Dec-Jan-Feb definition has been around a long time.

For myself, I find it hard to see any logic - natural or man-made, ancient or modern - to considering the 21st Dec as only the start. Still, I have to admit that some old folklore sayings suggest that Candlemas Day, the 2nd February, was sometimes reckoned to be the middle of winter - and that would imply the season (if 3 months long) running from mid-Dec to mid-March, which is not far off.

Maybe we should adopt the meteorologist H.H.Lamb's suggestion of having five seasons, not four, with 'Early winter' running from Nov 20th to Jan 19th, and 'Late winter' from Jan 20th to March 29th.

Ossie

If you go Solstice-Equinox-Solstice-Equinox then you could call the seasons "Cold", "Lightening", "Warm" and "Darkening".

Isn't the coldest period for the UK generally December 15th - March 15th? I'm sure someone said that on here last year....

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Posted
  • Location: Birmingham U.K.
  • Location: Birmingham U.K.
I wonder if that's really true, Rikki. If you want to talk about natural phenomena and ancient attitudes rather than the climatic experience, I think you can argue that the winter solstice was considered the middle of winter, not the beginning. Our pagan ancestors always made a big thing of it - and Christmas was moved to be close to it - presumably to celebrate the beginning of the end of the darkness, something that was probably at least as frightening to them as cold. And looking at it weather-wise, the Dec-Jan-Feb definition has been around a long time.

For myself, I find it hard to see any logic - natural or man-made, ancient or modern - to considering the 21st Dec as only the start. Still, I have to admit that some old folklore sayings suggest that Candlemas Day, the 2nd February, was sometimes reckoned to be the middle of winter - and that would imply the season (if 3 months long) running from mid-Dec to mid-March, which is not far off.

Maybe we should adopt the meteorologist H.H.Lamb's suggestion of having five seasons, not four, with 'Early winter' running from Nov 20th to Jan 19th, and 'Late winter' from Jan 20th to March 29th.

Ossie

Some good points there, Ossie and well made. Folks might find this interesting......

http://www.answers.com/topic/gregorian-cal...initiator=FFANS

Hope this is useful.

Kind regards,

Mike.

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Posted
  • Location: Ratby, Leicester.
  • Weather Preferences: Snow, storms
  • Location: Ratby, Leicester.

Personally for me the winter months are Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb.

I know most people nowadays don't class Nov as winter, I do and always will do.

Heres is my personal view on what months I think fall into the different seasons...

Spring= March, April, May.

Summer= June, July, August

Autumn=September, October.

Winter=November, December, January, February.

Although as we know, snow can fall in March and April quite frequently and we can still get summer weather in September if we are lucky!

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