Spring begins the first day of March if you are a meteorologist

CLEVELAND - Spring has sprung! At least for some of us. I know that calendar hanging on your fridge says spring officially begins on the evening of March 20. But, that's not the spring I'm talking about. I'm talking about Meteorological Spring. That begins each year on March 1.

You see, there are three different classifications of the seasons, including the spring season. The one we know best is called Astronomical Spring. It is based on the Earth's tilt on its axis. The Vernal Equinox marks the beginning of Astronomical Spring. It occurs on or around March 20 and signals when the Earth's tilt on its axis is neither toward nor away from the sun. On this day, we see an equal amount of daylight. And it marks the time when the Northern Hemisphere will tilt toward the sun for 6 months our days will get longer as we head toward summer.

The spring that arrived on March 1 is called Meteorological Spring. It is based on temperature, not the Earth's tilt. It follows the three coldest months of the year, or Meteorological Winter. Those months are December, January, & February. In March, temperatures begin to warm away from the cold of winter. March April & May make up what we call Meteorological Spring. The three warmest months of the year, June, July & August are known as Meteorological Summer.

There is one other classification of the seasons. These are called Solar Seasons. Solar Seasons are based on the amount of sunlight we see each day. Solar Winter consists of the three months of the year the Northern Hemisphere sees the least amount of sunlight per day. Those months are November, December and January. Therefore, Solar Spring began on February 1.

Whichever day you celebrate spring, the good news is we have turned the corner on winter. We will add a full hour of daylight during the month of March as winter weather fades away and is replaced by the promise of spring.

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