ClimateWatch

An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

What is "Sprummer"?

by Louise Noone

14/10/2014

What does a season really mean?

Spring flowers, summer sun, autumn leaves and winter freezes? None of this really makes much sense in Australia; it just doesn’t seem to fit such a neat pattern.

Things are a bit different here, and Dr Tim Entwisle (a ClimateWatch plant species advisor) wants to address it. In CSIRO’s latest publication Sprinter and Sprummer; Australia’s Changing Seasons, the director of Melbourne’s Royal Botanical Gardens calls to reject the traditional four seasons, and adopt a new system that will get us in tune with our plants and animals.

The five new seasons proposed are based on the biological and climatic cycles seen within southern Australia (anywhere south of Brisbane). 

Flowering behaviour, like that of the White Cedar pictured above, is an indication of the changing seasons. (Photo credit: David Midgley)Flowering behaviour, like that of the White Cedar shown above, is an indication of the changing of the seasons. (Photo credit: David Midgley) 

It all starts with Sprinter (August and September), the time when our gardens and the bush land burst into flower, like the white cedar shown above.

A second wave of flowering occurs during Sprummer (October and November), which leads to the classic Summer (December to March), albeit for four months instead of three. Autumn (April and May) and Winter (June and July) are both short lived, with winter being a preparation for the up and coming Sprinter.

Programs like ClimateWatch help to detail and map the changes and habits of indicator species in Australia, and the more data we gather with the help of our citizen scientists, the more chance we have of predicting and understanding the seasons and variability in a changing climate.

To find out more about Sprinter and Sprummer, check it out at CSIRO PUBLISHING.