Nomenclature of the Seasons


ONE frequently hears it said that the swallow passes the winter in South Africa, though a moment's reflection shows that it is summer in South Africa when the swallow is there. There appear to be no words for times of year, longer than a calendar month, applying to the whole world. Again, when one is trying to analyse periodic phenomena among organisms in the tropics, one is continually hampered by the lack of words denoting the seasons ; for spring, summer, autumn and winter are meaningless near the equator. One may speak of the rainy and dry season or seasons, but the periods are often illdefined. If one extends the words for the temperate seasons into the tropics, one cannot escape such absurdities as saying that in south-west Ceylon the winter is the hottest season. Such considerations as these have driven me, despite an aversion from all unnecessary complications of nomenclature, to suggest a series of eight new words.

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BAKER, J. Nomenclature of the Seasons. Nature 140, 890–891 (1937).

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