Depending on how you look at it, Tasmania may have the typical four distinct seasons. At least this description is less artificial when applied to Tasmania than to other places in Australia. For example, the leaves of the European deciduous trees which have been planted on the island do turn gold or red before starting to fall. The leaves of deciduous trees in Sydney just seemed to suddenly turn brown and then drop onto ground, all at once. The further north you go, the less sense that four seasons seem to make in Australia – until you get to the tropical areas which only have the two seasons – wet and dry.
On the other hand, I’ve talked to people from the Northern Hemisphere who are convinced that Tasmania doesn’t have four seasons, but only one – which is spring, because it never gets too hot or too cold over here. It’s true that the seasons here are more subtle. The leaves on almost all of the native plants look the same whether it’s summer or winter. There can be snow and freezing weather on the mountains in summer. Yes, summer is usually warmer than spring which is warmer than winter, but the degrees of temperature difference between the seasons are minute when compared with a continental climate like Minnesota.
It never ceased to amaze me how place that gets so cold in the winter as Minnesota, could be so hot and humid in the summer. It would dismay me how short (although delightful) spring and autumn could be there. One day in October it might be 65F and then only a few days later it would be 30F.
As I’ve been pondering whether the four seasons template works everywhere, I’ve been thinking that Minnesota really has five seasons, because it gets a second helping of winter. I’m talking about the dreary time of year when the snowbanks start to melt, the days are a bit longer, but any day there might be a nasty snowstorm and the flowers and greenery of spring seem a long way off. I’m basically talking about mid-February through to mid-April.
Of course, the extreme weather keeps away the bad people. Why didn’t anybody mention that to Arlon Lindner? Well if thinking such things helps Minnesotans get through the month of March, I won’t be so cruel as to argue with them.
I remember hearing something on ABC radio about how most places in Australia can’t really fit into four seasons. In some places there might be six seasons, admittedly fairly subtle.
Although eucalyptus leaves don’t fall at once, I have noticed that eucalyptus trees in Tasmania begin to shed their bark in late February. It’s very pretty actually, the ground is littered with the freshly fallen bark, often colourful on the underside. The new bark on the tree trunks and branches looks light, soft and clean – it hasn’t yet been sunburnt or weathered the many fierce storms in store for it.
Could this be a subtle sign-post for the start of a new season? I wonder that other ones there might be.