Are seasons relevant?

Originally posted October 2012

Coming from the southern hemisphere where everything, weather included, is upside down I’m quite sensitive to seasons. Add to that I have spent a fair chunk of time in the tropics.

As an editor I encourage writers to avoid using seasons to indicate time frames. I’m not always successful I might add. Leaving aside issues of autumn vs fall and caps or no caps, it all comes down to a simple matter of clarity.

In global communication is it still relevant to communicate time around the seasons when there are such vast differences in interpretation?

In global communication is it still relevant to communicate time around the seasons when there are such vast differences in interpretation?

As I’ve alluded to writers they cannot assume their audience has the same seasonal disposition as they do. Meteorologically speaking, seasons are three-month periods starting December 1, March 1, June 1 and September 1 (but of course they are back to front Downunder).

In practice though there are vast cultural differences that determine the change in the season not by the calendar but the prevailing conditions. This is particular prevalent in Sweden and Finland, where seasons change when the temperature falls or rises above a set level for seven consecutive days.

And then of course there are vast swathes of the world where the four conventional seasons simply don’t apply: the equatorial region tends to have the wet and the dry, while in the polar reaches, well it’s always cold.

My question to you: Do the seasons have any part to play in today’s global communication?

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