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John Wheeler: Don't call this the first day of fall

It is best to refer to these three months as Climatological Fall.

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FARGO — It is kind of pointless to consider any day as the first day of fall. Today is the Autumnal Equinox, a moment in time in which the sun crosses the ecliptic plane of our planet, which actually has no bearing on the weather of today or tomorrow. The descent from summer to fall is a gradual transition caused by the loss of solar heat to the Northern Hemisphere, but there is no particular day that is more important than any other.

Today is the start of Astronomical Fall, but certainly not the annual start of the fall season of weather. The three months of September through November do constitute the fall season from a statistical point of view, as we compare the weather of one fall season to another, and some have taken to calling this Meteorological Fall. However, this is also a misnomer. To compare one season to another is a climatological endeavor. It is best to refer to these three months as Climatological Fall, knowing that there is no annual day when the actual weather changes.

Related Topics: WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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