When does summer 2022 start? What is the difference between meteorological and astronomical summer? The Met Office explains

With the days finally warming up, spring is in full swing - but when does summer start this year and how long does it last?

When talking about the first day of summer, we are generally referring to the astronomical summer.

This is determined by the earth’s axis and orbit around the sun, which also relate to both equinoxes and solstices.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

How is this relevant to summer and when it starts? Here is everything you need to know.

Summer at Sandall Park, Doncaster. (Pic credit: Marie Caley)

When does summer start?

The astronomical calendar defines the seasons by the 23.5 degrees of tilt of the earth’s rotational axis in relation to its orbit around the sun.

This year, the astronomical summer begins on June 21 2022 and will end on September 22 2022.

For the next couple of years, the dates for astronomical summer will be;

Summer 2023: From Wednesday, June 21 to Saturday, September 23

Summer 2024: From Thursday, June 20 to Sunday, September 22

What is meteorological summer?

According to the Met Office, meteorologists are also interested in the start of meteorological summer which will always begin on June 1 and end on August 31.

The meteorological seasons consist of four group periods made up of three months each. The four seasons are split to complement the Gregorian calendar, which makes it more digestible for meteorological observing and forecasting to compare seasonal and monthly stats.

The seasons are spring (March, April, May), summer (June, July, August), autumn (September, October, November) and winter (December, January, February).

When is the summer solstice?

Solstices are the astronomical transition points between the seasons and mark key phases in the astronomical cycle of the earth.

Summer solstice 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere will occur at 10.13am on Tuesday, June 21.

Each year there are two equinoxes (spring and autumn) and two solstices (summer and winter). The dates are not fixed due to the earth’s elliptical orbit of the sun.