Spring may have sprung on the meteorological calendar back at the start of the month, but what you might be wondering is why things are still feeling a little chilly.

Well, the reason we have doubted its long-awaited arrival is because technically, we are still waiting for the season to actually start! According to the astronomical calendar, which some believe is a more accurate way to mark the shift, spring doesn’t officially begin until Sunday 20 March.

The March equinox signals the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. It marks that special moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator going from south to north.

You’ve likely been noticing the earlier dawns and later sunsets for some weeks now.  Plants are sprouting. Winds are softening. Birds and butterflies are migrating back northward, too, along with the path of the sun.

The longer days bring with them warmer weather. People will soon be leaving their winter coats at home. Trees are budding, and plants are beginning a new cycle of growth. In many places, spring flowers are beginning to bloom.

While the astronomical seasons might give a better idea of when temperatures will get milder, the meteorological calendar is a lot easier to use when comparing one season to the last. This is due to the seasons being equal length each year compared to the wildly varying season lengths with the astronomical calendar. The Met Office, for example, and other forecasters around the world use the meteorological definition of seasons as this ‘determines a clear transition between the seasons’.

Don’t forget, the clocks are going forward one hour on 27 March.