Summer… Spring… Winter… Where’s Fall?

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Each year Georgia is teased by the season of Fall.

One day it’s cold, then the next it’s up in the 90’s.

Each morning requires a jacket but by 3:00pm we’re ready to shed more than the jacket. As October comes to a beginning, you might be wondering one simple thing;

When Is It Going To Feel Like Fall?


Agricultural Climatologist Pam Knox spends her days tracking the affect of climate on agriculture and summarizing the weather for her region (Athens-Clarke & Oconee County). She made it clear that “fall” is a relative term. Some refer to fall as the changing of the temperature or the falling leaves. “For me, fall is when I get to add sweaters into my wardrobe,” said Knox.

So what is fall?

In climatologist’s terms

For someone in Knox’s field of climate study, fall is observed September 1 to November 30.

This term is related to the dates of soltices and equinoxes of the year. A website run by University of Texas McDonald Observator — —  explains the autumnal equinox as the time of year when the sun appears in the sky at the intersection of the ecliptic and the celestial equator. The equinoxes are used so that the seasons can be marked equally each year although the weather and temperature might vary from year to year.

Climate Change’s Affect

Change in temperature map. Image provided by the NOAA Climate Center

Knox explains climate change as an envelope term “encompassing natural and human caused variations.”. Climate change is a long term-affect, so therefore in her day to day work with agriculture, an impactful industry in the Athens area, climate change is not much of an issue.  Knox states that farmers are looking generally concerned of short terms affects and rarely look too far past a calendar year in advance.

Like Knox, climate change does not directly affect our daily life. As seen in Image 2, Athens has actually had a negative change in normal temperature – meaning it was actually cooler than average.

S0 what has climate change done to our fall?

Not much.

Knox states that the southeast region of the United States has actually suffered a less noticeable impact compared to the rest of the country. Georgia is a part of the southeast global warming hole. Knox recalled that for the last 100 years, Georgia has been, on average, cooler than the rest of the U.S. Only until 1960 did areas in the global warming hole see cooler than average temperatures.

However, these cooler than average temperatures are based on an average. The largest affect climate change has on our region are the extreme temperatures, whether cold or hot. Since climate change is a study of base state, these outlier temperatures are what skew the average.

The national weather service recorded that the average temperature in Athens last year September- November was 67.4 degrees, the second warmest on record and Atlanta with a record high of 69.1 degrees.

The first frost date of the fall season in Athens is usually somewhere around the first of November, but even Knox can’t say why. But that’s the game of climate. It’s ever changing and extremely difficult to track.


Fall’s Arrival?

Knox spends her days working with weather and climate and their affects but even she agrees, fall is nothing but a relative term, different for each person. If fall means cooler temperatures to you, you shouldn’t have to wait much longer, as the temperatures have already began to drop (see Knox’s climate summary).

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If fall means Halloween decorations and candy sold at your local grocery store, then you’re probably already enjoying the season. If it means taking a that trip to the mountains and drinking cider by the fire, then gather up your sweater and your favorite mug because now is a bette time than ever. Either way, fall is what you want it to be. So enjoy your football games, your candy, sweaters and trips and make fall your own.


Based on a survey of 50 people, ages ranging from 21 to 55


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