Meteorology and Weather

Does spring start a day early in 2020?

I thought the vernal equinox was always March 20, but my calendar says this year it’s March 19. I’ll take the extra day, but how could something like that change?

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Vern Kovacek
March 16, 2020 9:30PM

In the United States, the vernal equinox, which signifies the start of astronomical spring in the northern hemisphere, actually happens on March 19, 20, or 21 each year. We haven’t had a March 19 equinox since 1896, and we won’t have a March 21 equinox until 2101.

I say it marks the beginning of astronomical spring because meteorological spring (based on weather patterns) starts March 1.

Astronomical spring is a little harder to explain. The Earth’s axis is always tilted at about 23 degrees, meaning that depending on where it is in its orbit, one hemisphere or the other is closer to the sun. The equinoxes (the vernal equinox in March and the autumnal equinox in September) mark the points in the orbit where neither hemisphere is tilted toward nor away from the sun, meaning day and night are nearly equal.

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Michael Vial
March 19, 2020 10:13PM


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Christopher Lawrence
March 21, 2020 7:01PM


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Landon Willett
March 19, 2020 7:27PM


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Wanaaya Katz
March 18, 2020 12:37AM

The first day of spring will occur on Thursday, March 19, 2020, at 11:50 p.m. EDT for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, which is marked by the arrival of the Vernal (Spring) Equinox. If this seems early to you, you're right! In fact, this is the earliest the Vernal (Spring) Equinox has occurred in 124 years

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Rick Kwitkoski
March 24, 2020 6:23PM

No. Since 2020 is a LEAP year, the calendar date has been pushed back by a day. If it was not a leap year, the date would have been March 20th, in the Western Hemisphere

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Sunset Beach
March 24, 2020 2:00AM


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Ella Mean
March 23, 2020 8:11PM


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Chase Morissette
March 23, 2020 6:32AM

Yes it did, I saw two robins a day early and they were arguing about the same thing. It's a leap year so you know the birds don't have a calendar.

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Jamie Johnson
March 21, 2020 1:32AM


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Emma Alford
March 20, 2020 7:48PM


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Jeannie Ullman
March 20, 2020 7:27PM


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Danielle Perez
March 20, 2020 6:32PM