Over the past few weeks, I’ve had several people ask when spring will arrive. While I realize the question is more based on when temperatures will warm up and when the snow will end, I can’t help but think more scientifically.
Technically, spring has already begun — meteorologically speaking.
Meteorological vs. astronomical seasons
Meteorologists and climatologists define seasons differently from what is more commonly known as “regular” or astronomical seasons. Meteorological seasons are based on the annual temperatures cycle while astronomical seasons are based on the position of the Earth in relation to the sun.
Meteorological seasons are grouped into three-month cycles to help collect and keep better data. The first day of meteorological spring began on March 1 and will last through May 31.
Astronomical spring will occur on March 20 at 5:58 pm EDT. That is the point in time when the sun will pass over the equator from south to north.
Just like during the fall equinox, this is one of two days of the year with nearly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. The difference is from this day on days will slowly become longer and nights shorter until the summer solstice occurs on June 21.
Equinox Super Worm Moon
It’s been nearly two decades since a full moon has occurred on the same day as the equinox. The last time this happened was March 20, 2000. This month’s full moon will rise on the 20th and become full at exactly 9:43 pm EDT.
March’s full moon is also called the “Full Worm Moon.” Folklore says the name was given to this month’s full moon because it’s during the time of year when the ground would begin to soften and earthworms would reappear.
That’s not all — this full moon will also be “Super” meaning it will be at its closest point to earth in its orbit making it appear slightly bigger and brighter in the sky.
Daylight Saving Time
Of course with the changing of the seasons comes more daylight, but even before that sunsets will dramatically get later.
In less than one week Daylight Saving Time will begin. On Sunday, March 10 we will set our clocks ahead one hour gaining an extra hour of daylight in the evening.
The tradition of setting our clocks ahead one hour during the summer months then back an hour during the winter was created to make better use of daylight hours.
Due to the increased daylight hours and the increased sun angle, temperatures will steadily climb through the next month. On average the daily high will climb from the middle 40s at the beginning of the month to the middle 50s by the end.
While the average daily high temperatures will trend warmer over the next few weeks that may not be the case overall. Long range trends show the month may finish with below normal temperatures. That means there will be more days cooler than normal than above.
The upside to the long range forecast is the probability for precipitation. Data indicates March 2019 will be drier than last month with near-normal precipitation. Typically the month should finish with around 3.34 inches. February 2019 finished with nearly double that in Dayton with 6.15 inches.
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