Shrinking Spring

Shrinking Spring

While it may be nicer to go without knowing this, especially as this bitter winter drags on, apparently spring is getting shorter, by 30 seconds to a minute, each year. According to scientists at the National Weather Service (NWS) and Gavin Schmidt, Director with the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, when the Earth’s axis reaches a halfway point where is it equidistantly not pointing at the sun or away from it (think summer and winter solstices), our spring season loses 30 seconds.

Seasonal variation is only present on this planet due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis at 23.5 degrees, straight up or down, and its orbit around the sun. This means the northern hemisphere tilts towards the sun for 6 months of the year while the southern hemisphere is tilting away and vice versa.

The earth's axis, orbit and how seasons come to be

The earth’s axis, orbit and how seasons come to be.

 

Astronomers state that this time loss has been occurring steadily but minutely incrementally for several years now in the northern hemisphere. Last summer was the longest season on recent record with 93.56 days, followed at a close second by spring with 92.76 days, autumn at 89.84 days and winter with 88.99 days. Researchers anticipate the trend of time loss to continue with spring losing time to summer and winter losing time to autumn, seasonal homogenization, if you will.

Eventually, in approximately the year 3000, seasons in the northern hemisphere will have shifted; summer will be 93.92 days, spring will have 91.97 days, autumn will be 90.61 days long and winter will, thankfully, have only 88.74 days. This doesn’t seem like a monumental shift, but as it continues intensity grows and fractions of days can impact circadian rhythms.