Summer is is the hottest of the four temperate seasons falling between spring and autumn. At the summer solstice the days are longest and the nights are shortest with day-length decreasing as the season progresses after the solstice. The date of the beginning varies according to climate tradition and culture. When it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa.
From an astronomical view the equinoxes and solstices would be the middle of the respective seasons but sometimes astronomical is defined as starting at the solstice, the time of maximal insolation or on the traditional date of June 21. A variable seasonal lag means that the meteorological center of the season which is based on average temperature patterns, occurs several weeks after the time of maximal insolation. The meteorological convention is to define comprising the months of June and August in the northern hemisphere and the months of December January and February in the southern hemisphere. Under meteorological definitions all seasons are arbitrarily set to start at the beginning of a calendar month and end at the end of a month. This meteorological definition of summer also aligns with the commonly viewed notion of season with the longest days of the year in which daylight predominates. The meteorological reckoning of seasons is used in Australia Austria Denmark the former Soviet Union and Japan. It is also used by many in the United Kingdom. In Ireland the summer months according to the national meteorological service Met ireann are June and August. However, according to the Irish Calendar summer begins on 1 May and ends on 1 August. School textbooks in Ireland follow the cultural norm of commencing on 1 May rather than the meteorological definition of 1 June.
Days continue to lengthen from equinox to solstice and days progressively shorten after the solstice so meteorological summer encompasses the build-up to the longest day and a diminishing thereafter with summer having many more hours of daylight than spring. Reckoning by hours of daylight alone solstice marks the midpoint not the beginning of the seasons. Midsummer takes place over the shortest night of the year which is the summer solstice or on a nearby date that varies with tradition.
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