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Opinion: Spring is arriving early!

Most years I write a column about this and most years it rocks the boat as people often either strongly agree or strongly disagree – but in my opinion, Spring 2014 has already started.

Forget the meteorological calendar – which says winter is here for another 4 weeks.  Forget the astronomical calendar which says winter is here for another two more months (ending at the equinox late Sept).  The best way to assess the seasons is by observing nature itself.

Winter is a cold time of year with less available sunlight hours and growth in nature mostly stops – we see plants becoming dormant, trees lose leaves, plants stop flowering, others die right back into the ground and some plants, insects and bugs die out altogether in these cold months.

Spring is when this life comes back again.  When buds start to bloom.  Daffodils flower.  Lambs and calves are born. Insects set to multiply again.

So it comes as no surprise to me that, once again, here we are in late July and already spring conditions are kicking off.

I say this most years – New Zealand has a four month spring and a four month autumn – winter and summer run for about 2 months each, in my view.

But what about those cold blasts?  We can get snow storms as late as October and November.  Well, that’s still part of spring.  Spring in many parts of the world is about winter conditions dying away and summer ones slowly creeping in.  A few frosty or snowy days out of weeks of mild isn’t a return to winter – it’s simply spring being spring.

This week we are predicting highs in the late teens and little in the way of frosts and snow.  Temperatures will be above average for many regions as warmer, windier, conditions move in.

We may still get a couple more polar blasts, we may still get heavy frosts and black ice in both islands – in fact I’d say it’s very likey we’ll see more frosts and more snow.  But we are seeing more and more signs that spring is already arriving in some parts of New Zealand – especially in the area of temperatures, which should be warmer than average for many places this working week.

– Column by Philip Duncan,

– Image / File, Peter Shone



Have Your Say

What do you think?  Are you seeing signs of spring where you live – or is it still very much mid-winter? Post a comment below (and don’t forget to say which region/town you are in!)


John Gaul on 29/07/2014 7:27am

Our witch-hazel tree has a few buds on it.

Lyn, Winterless North on 29/07/2014 7:03am

My peach tree flowered about a month ago and my daffodills have nearly all finished. My chooks started laying about 2wks ago and had an early calf two days ago. Had a lot of grass growth the warm week of the storm early this month.

Glenda O'Donovan on 29/07/2014 1:59am

Lambs born..daffodils flowering..blossoming trees and for the first time ever the lawn got mowed mid July.

sw on 28/07/2014 10:10pm

Next week another big slow tasman anticyclone is forecasted on its way with southerlies again.

Josh Oliver on 28/07/2014 8:40pm

You could argue the fact that it is here eary. But you could also argue that winter arrived late because June was so warm. Follow that trend and August September may well be cold. 

WW Forecast Team on 28/07/2014 9:20pm

Hey Josh – yes fair point about saying winter arrived late.  But spring isn’t judged by temperatures – it’s judged by life.  When buds bloom, flowers appear, lambs and calves are born – that is spring.  Can be snowing – it’s still spring.  Spring can be brutally cold like winter at times – but once you start getting life coming back then that is the definition of spring and definitely not winter!



Josh Oliver on 28/07/2014 9:23pm

Again, fair point you make! haha

Am I right in saying that this happens every year though, we see signs of srping by early August?

Guest on 28/07/2014 8:25pm

Did we only have one week of winter then?

WW Forecast Team on 28/07/2014 9:22pm

Hi there – yes for some parts of New Zealand it was very short lived this year. Has been a bit like this for the past few years. This winter has been colder than last winter was for Auckland, but generally it’s been milder than average.

– Phil

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