Has autumn arrived in Suffolk or will there be an Indian summer?
- Credit: DAVID KENWRIGHT
After a record breaking summer for Suffolk we have seen signs of autumn this week with cooler temperatures, rain storms and blustery conditions.
Is this a sign summer is over or is it just a blip?
The real question is: When does autumn official begin? And that question can be answered using two calendars which are used to measure seasons, the meteorological and astronomical calendars.
Meteorological calendar - This states that autumn begins on September 1 each year and runs until the end of November.
According to the Met office the meteorological seasons are determined by splitting the seasons into four periods of three months. The seasons are devised this way in order to coincide with Gregorian calendar, which is the most widely used calendar in the world.
This is done to make it easier for weather observation and forecasting, and comparing seasonal and monthly statistics.
According to this system spring runs from March to May; summer starts in June and finishes in August; autumn stretches from September to November and December, January and February are classed as winter.
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Astronomical calendar - This determines the start of autumn based on when the autumnal equinox falls. This leads to autumn falling later in September, this year the equinox takes place on Sunday, September 23.
An equinox marks the only two points in the year when the equator is the closest part of the Earth to the sun. This means that everywhere in the world should get 12 hours of daylight and darkness during both the spring and summer equinoxes.
According to the astronomical calendar autumn surrenders to winter on December 21, the date of the winter solstice.
What weather can we expect this autumn? - Although we enjoyed an above average summer it’s not guaranteed we can expect a warmer than average autumn, the hot summer was largely put down to the fact winds were bringing warmer weather from the continent.
Although the trend for warm and drier weather is set to continue into next week, meteorologist Dan Holley suggests that it is too soon to tell whether we will experience an Indian summer, giving us a last blast of sun and heat before the traditional autumnal weather such as early morning frost and haze appears towards the end of October and start of November.
As we wait to see if autumn is warmer than normal Mr Holley suggests we take each day as it comes, and over coming days we can expect changeable conditions.