How strange to live somewhere where the passing of the seasons is not measured by a fixed date. In Australia,spring comes every year on September 1st, whether it’s a hellish 40 degrees or a freezing 4 degrees. In America (sensible, those Americans) it begins with the Spring Equinox.
In China though, Spring is defined by the weather nerds at the Shanghai Bureau of Meteorology, who compile lists of average temperatures in hundreds of cities then decide, based on an arbitrary average temperature, for 5 days in a row, that spring has arrived.
This seems needlessly complicated, and anyway, this year I hear that they cheated – they designated Spring Had Arrived on the 24th of March, even though the average temperature was 0.3 degrees shy of the 10 degrees average required.
So what was that all about? I suspect that after the longest winter in 15 years they were worried that Shanghai Expo would start and it would still be (officially) winter, so perhaps they were getting a lot of Party pressure to announce spring’s arrival. Really, if you can construct a fully-fledged city in 24 hours, you can muck around with something like the seasons.
So, in the face of all that pressure, what did they do? They just fudged things. A little bit. I mean, it’s only the SEASONS for pete’s sake. Weather nerds, it’s just Not Very Scientific, is it. Really guys, all you had to do was look outside and use your common sense. To help you out I have compiled my own list of Shanghai Spring Indicators:
1. There are spring bamboo shoots in the wet market.
2. Furry hand-warmers have been removed from scooters and motorbikes.
3. The dogs are no longer wearing shoes, and have ditched their fleece winter coats for lightweight spring coats.
4. Coffee stays hot for more than 1.4 minutes.
5. The magnolias are blooming. Everywhere.
Note to Weather Nerds, I will send you my Summer Indicators when I’ve figured out what they are.