When does summer start in 2023? Date new season starts in UK, and how long it lasts

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The UK experienced one of the hottest summers on record last year with temperatures reaching 40C in some areas

The UK is beginning to experience longer daylight hours and many people are eagerly waiting for the summer season to get underway.

Many people associate summer with time off work, holidays, bike rides and festivals. While school students and teachers are treated to a six week break away from the classroom.

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The UK experienced one of its hottest summers on record last year, with temperatures reaching the unprecedented heights of 40C. But when does summer start in 2023 and can we expect the UK to experience a similar heatwave this year? Here is everything you need to know.

When does summer start in 2023?

There are two different ways of calculating the first day of summer and it largely depends whether you follow the meteorological or astronomical definitions of the season.

The meteorological summer begins first on Thursday 1 June and it follows the same pattern every year. Meanwhile the astronomical definition states that summer will officially begin on Wednesday 21 June.

What is the difference between meteorological and astronomical summer?

The UK experienced one of its hottest summers on record last year, with temperatures reaching the unprecedented heights of 40C.(Getty Images)The UK experienced one of its hottest summers on record last year, with temperatures reaching the unprecedented heights of 40C.(Getty Images)
The UK experienced one of its hottest summers on record last year, with temperatures reaching the unprecedented heights of 40C.(Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

The meteorological seasons are the easiest to work out and they are based on the simple principle that the year is split into four seasons, and that each of these seasons are made up of three months to follow the pattern of the Gregorian calendar.

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This definition helps weather forecasters compare seasonal and monthly statistics from different years and means that each season starts on the exact same date each year. Meteorological summer always begins on 1 June and lasts until 31 August. Autumn begins the following day on 1 September.

Astronomical seasons are slightly more complicated to work out and they can change in different years. The astronomical summer is based around the summer solstice, which typically comes during the final 10 days of June but it varies slightly each year.

In 2023, the summer solstice is scheduled to fall on Wednesday 21 June, which is the same as 2022. The summer solstice can occur any time between 20 and 22 of the month, but the most common date for it to occur is 21 June.

What is the longest day of the year?

The summer solstice, often referred to as the longest day of the year, marks the date in the UK where we see the longest period of daylight hours and the shortest period of darkness. The summer solstice takes place when the Earth’s north pole has its maximum tilt towards the sun.

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How long does summer last?

There are two different ways of working out the final day of summer as it is also dependent on the meteorological and astronomical definitions. The meteorological summer lasts for exactly three months and runs from 1 June to 31 August with Autumn commencing the following day. From an astronomical point of view, summer will officially run from Wednesday 21 June until Saturday 23 September.

Can we expect another heatwave in 2023?

The UK experienced record breaking temperatures in the summer of 2022 and climate experts have previously told National World that last summer was “not a one-off” and that it will become “the new norm.”

Dr Nikos Christidis said: “The chances of seeing 40C days in the UK could be as much as 10 times more likely in the current climate than under a natural climate unaffected by human influence. The likelihood of exceeding 40C anywhere in the UK in a given year has also been rapidly increasing, and even with current pledges on emission reductions, such extremes could be taking place every 15 years in the climate of 2100.”

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