Spring Equinox: When is first day of Spring 2022, what is vernal equinox and when is first day of Autumn 2022?

Flowers are blooming and temperatures are rising. The seasons appear to be changing, but how do we define the start of spring, what is the vernal equinox and when is the first day of spring 2022?

The Royal Museums Greenwich says the first official day of Spring in the UK occurs, astronomically speaking, on the vernal equinox which is Sunday, March 20.

In the northern hemisphere, including the UK, spring is typically considered to be the months of March, April and May and for many (including meteorologists) this means spring begins on March 1.

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But many others consider the vernal equinox to be the true start of spring, and the changing of the seasons.

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What is the Vernal Equinox?

There are two Equinoxes in a calendar year, the days when the length of day and night are equal. It is the only time when the Northern and Southern hemispheres experience roughly equal amounts of daylight.

This happen when a planet’s subsolar point passes through its equator. The Earth is on a 23.5 degree tilt relative to the Sun meaning the number of hours of daylight we receive changes as we orbit our star.

When is the first day of Spring 2022? A visitor takes photos as she visits the Blossom Park at Amsterdamse Bos, where the cheery blossom blooms for several weeks starting at the end of the month of March into April, in Amstelveen on March 20, 2022. - Netherlands OUT (Photo by Evert Elzinga / ANP / AFP)

The word equinox comes from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night).

When is the first day of Spring 2022?

The first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere is marked on the Vernal Equinox which is Sunday, March 20 in 2022.

The precise moment of the March equinox was 07.33 GMT.

In between the two equinoxes are the solstices, the points at which the sun is at the highest and lowest points at midday.

The summer solstice is typically around June 21 – at which point spring ends - and the winter solstice happens on or around December 22.

The first day of spring 2023 will be March 20 once again.

However meteorologists disagree, and treat spring as the same three months each year: March, April and May. For weather experts, spring always begins on March 1.

The Met Office says: “Meteorological seasons are instead based on the annual temperature cycle and measure the meteorological state, as well as coinciding with the calendar to determine a clear transition between the seasons.

“The meteorological seasons consist of splitting the seasons into four periods made up of three months each. These seasons are split to coincide with our Gregorian calendar, making it easier for meteorological observing and forecasting to compare seasonal and monthly statistics.

"By the meteorological calendar, spring will always start on 1 March; ending on 31 May.”

When is the first day of Autumn 2022?

Autumn begins with the Autumn Equinox which will take place on September 23 this year.

Meteorologists, however, will treat September 1 as the first day of the season from a weather point of view.

When do the clocks go forward in 2022?

In the UK, clocks change twice each year: springing forward and falling back with the seasons.

In spring, the clocks go forwards to mark the start of British Summer Time at 1am on the final Sunday of March.

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