One week ago today was the official first day of Spring and for the second year in a row we had snow. I really don't mind. In fact, I love it - that's one of the many things I love about living in the northeast. Here's a quick look at what Spring looked like on the morning of March 20 in the Hamptons.
Photos & Slide Show © 2016 Claudia Ward
"A Nom de Plume/ Carnivale!" by Alexandre Desplat; Casanova Soundtrack
And 9 hours later it was all gone.
P.S. When I was confirming when the official start of Spring would be this year, I learned something I would probably never have discovered without the internet. Could I have lived without this little tidbit - of course, but I found it interesting in all its obscureness so I had to share it with you.
Spring equinox usually happens on March 20th or the 21st, and this year it will be the earliest since 1896 (120 years ago). Why? Well the reason goes back to Pope Gregory XIII, the guy who created the Gregorian calendar in 1582 (today's internationally accepted civil calendar).
A year on earth lasts 365.242 days which is dealt with by having most years have 365 days and every fourth year having 366 days; those years we call Leap Years. Under this system, a year is 365.25 days which is a hair longer than the actual length of a year. Trying to address this, Pope Gregory XIII declared that "years ending in '00' should not be leap years unless they are also diviseible by 400. So the year 2000 was a leap year but 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not, and 2100 won't be either."
According to EarthSky, via livescience.com, the 2000 leap year caused the Spring equinox to come about three-quarters of a day earlier than it did a century earlier in 1900. Ever since 2000, the March equinox of each leap year has happened earlier than the previous leap year, e.g. 2:25 a.m. EST in 2000, and 1:15 a.m. EDT in 2012 (on March 20th). This trend will continue until the end of this century and will even cross over to March 19th, e.g. 11:50 p.m. EDT in 2020, 11:06 pm. The earliest Spring equinox of the century will be at 10:03 p.m. EDT on March 19, 2096. (Check out the chart below.)
But remember Pope Gregory's rule, years ending in "00" shall not be leap years if they can be divided by 400, thus 2100 will not be a leap year and Spring will arrive later that year, by about a quarter of a day - once again on March 20th, around 9:01 a.m. EDT.
2000 March 20 02:25 a.m. EST
2004 March 20 01:49 a.m. EST
2008 March 20 01:48 a.m. EDT
2012 March 20 01:15 a.m. EDT
2016 March 20 12:30 a.m. EDT
2020 March 19 11:50 p.m. EDT
2024 March 19 11:06 p.m. EDT
2096 March 19 10:03 p.m. EDT
2100 March 20 09:01 a.m. EDT