Posted on November 01 2019
A refreshing swim in summer, walks through the colourful woods in autumn, a warming fire in the chimney under snow-covered roofs in winter and in spring, nature awakens again, and the cycle begins anew – what could be better? Our seasons in an overview.
The seasons are familiar to us – we take it for granted that there is spring, summer, autumn and winter. But are there really "only" four seasons? Or maybe a few more? And what makes the seasons so reliable – at least until now?
How are seasons created?
To understand why the weather and solar radiation change so noticeably over the course of the year, you have to go a long way back. So to speak, on a cosmic level. Because astronomical factors are involved in the formation of the seasons.
Sure, it is obvious to assume that the orbit of the earth around the sun has something to do with the seasons. Anyone who has ever seen a model of the solar system probably knows that all planets do not orbit the sun in circular orbits, but in elliptical – in other words rather oval - orbits. Does it get colder when the earth moves further away from the sun?
No – not at all. The seasons arise due to the fact that the earth's axis is tilted about 23° from the vertical. With each rotation around the own axis opposite the rotation around the sun the earth circles. And this so-called precession of the earth's axis is responsible for the fact that there are seasons... because if the earth's axis were at right angles to the orbit, we would always have the same climate, worldwide.
Four seasons in alternation
Since the earth now spins a little, it turns the northern hemisphere sometimes closer to the sun, and sometimes the southern hemisphere. This makes sure that there are different seasons. We are accustomed to following the astronomical data for the beginning of the seasons:
- Spring: It begins on March 21st, usually also the date of the equinox, even if it still seems cool to cold. Now nature is getting ready and preparing plants and animals to resume their growth and reproduction cycles. All functions that were shut down during the winter are reactivated. The increased incidence of sunlight, which not only awakens animals from their hibernation but also makes us humans much more awake, contributes to this.
- Summer: June 21st is officially the starting signal for the warm season and at the same time the longest day of the year. The flowers that opened in spring are now bearing fruit that matures thanks to the long, warm days. Animal children born in spring grow up in summer under the most favourable conditions. Also, the human being is clearly more efficient in summer than in winter, because the longer sun exposure is good for our health.
- Autumn: With the autumn equinox on September 23rd, long summer evenings in the garden (usually) come to an end – it gets cooler, the days get shorter quickly, fog and rain determine the climate. Nature is preparing for winter, but very slowly. Some plants only bring their fruits to maturity now, and in the animal world the courtship begins. Young animals are now often weaned, so that their mothers are now ready for a new pregnancy.
- Winter: With the winter solstice, on December 21st, we register the shortest day of the year and the official beginning of the winter – even if from now on the days are slowly getting longer again. The cold and darkness seem hostile to life at first glance, but they are not. Winter is only a necessary respite. Because soon it will be spring again...
Four seasons – really?
We in our latitudes are aware of having four seasons, but actually the year can be divided into significantly more and more differentiated sections. Phenology, founded by the natural scientist Carl von Linné, distinguishes ten seasons, because spring, summer and autumn are divided into pre, main and late phases.
Also, the meteorological and astronomical beginning of the seasons is usually not identical. While astronomers orientate themselves by the length of the day, meteorologists use the calendar months to subdivide the seasons. With such different points of view, we only have to hold our hand out of the window to determine how warm or cold it is outside!
Always a mild climate? That's possible!
Those who want to escape the seasons – and especially the winter – can quickly find places around the globe where not much changes in the course of a year. Whether Uruguay, the Côte d'Azur or Hawaii, they all lie in "moderate" latitudes. Because the closer you get to the equator, the less the seasons affect you. The length of the day also varies less. This is why it is so easy to spend the winter on the beach of the Red Sea in Egypt or in Madeira. But the proximity to the equator is not always a guarantee for a pleasant climate, as in some areas of the world, the monsoon rain is noticeable seasonally. Nothing for water shy people!
Those who want to experience extreme seasons can do so in Scandinavia. Because the higher the latitude, the longer it stays dark in winter. Whether one prefers to stay in Europe and enjoy the different seasons, or whether the individual is drawn to distant countries and under the tropical sun, is of course a question of one's own preferences.
The right outfit at any time of the year
No matter how wet and cold the winter or how hot the summer gets, we at NIKIN want to help our customers to find a suitable outfit for any weather at any time of the year. And of course, as sustainable as possible. One of our concerns is the commitment to the preservation of the forests - all over the world. For forests play an enormously important role for our climate and the preservation of the planet. That's why we want to use our blogs to provide inspiration – also on interesting aspects of nature, in this case the seasons.