Monday Message Board

It’s the first of Spring* and time once again for your comments on any topic (civilised discussion and no coarse language please).

* There are more assumptions in here than I have space to unpack, but I’d be interested in people’s views on whether a four-season division makes sense where they live. It certainly doesn’t in Northern Australia, where there are really three seasons – the Dry, the Buildup and the Wet. In Brisbane, as far as I’ve experienced it, the seasons are Summer and Not Summer – there aren’t enough deciduous trees for an autumn/fall and there’s nothing that could be called a winter.

9 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. One of the surprises of moving from Oz to the US is that the Americans measure the seasons from the solstices and equinoxes, so we in the US have another 20 or so days of summer left. As usual, Australians have got it right – with the end of summer vacations, kids going back to school, and a few leaves turned red in my backyard, I’m beginning to think autumn.

  2. According to the local Indigenous folk, the Top End has (from memory) six seasons. In Darwin, “the Dry” can definitely be subdivided into May vs later – for a few nights every May, you get stunning cold (~15 degree), low-humidity nights, delivering the sublime depths of “the Dry” at its front end, as it were.

    Alas, Melbourne’s spring is lacklustre in comparison, merely creeping up a couple of degrees on the post-winter equinox temperature bell curve.

  3. “In Brisbane, as far as I’ve experienced it…there’s nothing that could be called a winter”

    It all depends on where you’re coming from. I moved to Brisbane at thirteen after a childhood in the tropics. Call them winter or something else, but those ghastly, cold months epitomised that transition for me. More than anything from those years I remember the excruciating bike ride to school in the icy wind, the permanently cracked and bleeding lips, and the huddling around bar radiators all eveing. Absurd as it will sound to anyone who grew up in Canberra or Melbourne, I truly dreaded the arrival of July.

  4. Portland, Oregon has a smooth curve from cold and rainy to hot and dry and back again. There are no sharp divisions that I know of. It can be 50 degrees (F), cloudy, and drizzly any month of the year.

  5. On an entirely different note, I contend that the Christmas 1977 episode of The Goodies, “Earthanasia”, which is on the DVD that came out today, is not only a highlight of that series but of all television. Discuss.

  6. Does a four season division make sense? Here in Melbourne it does – we get all four in the one day. Seriously though, spring, summer, autumn and winter are all defintely present here (we are in the temperate zone, after all), but the actual dividing line between one and the next seldom has much to do with the traditional dates. Mind you, having said that here it is September 1st, and the wistaria is just coming into flower on the front verandah, and the AFL finals are starting next week – go Pies.

  7. I agree with James Farrell The Younger: shorten winter, where it exists, by a couple of months please?

    The fundamental drivers of the seasons are the tilt of the earth’s axis combined with its revolution around the sun. So the underlying strength of the four quite separate seasonal processes can be predicted, based only on geometry, to vary smoothly from minimum at equator – indistinguishable from zero, I understand – to maximum at pole.

    The rest is largely dependent on regional/local geography.

    Therefore, based on sound geometrical and geographical principles, local experience of the seasons is what defines them locally.

    The strength of your cliched image of what the seasons should be, like the strength of your White Christmas fetish, if any, are indexes of your personal Europhilia.

  8. Based on my less than a year in Wollongong, I’d say that area has two seasons: Summer and Very Summer. I was very disappointed to have to give up my New England fall for the Aussie transition from Summer to Very Summer.

    Here in the NE USA, we have four seasons. But Spring is not one of them. We have Summer, Fall, Winter, and Mud. Thankfully Mud only lasts about a month (mid-April to mid-May). Unfortunately Fall is also only a month long (October).

  9. I’ve also heard of the 6 season breakdown for the Northern Territory. But I was more intrigued by a Canadian version I heard, a bit like Stentor’s. From memory: autumn, winter, slush, and roadworks.

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