Nature on our doorsteps: Season of mists . . .
After the autumn equinox, shorter days trigger trees to change colour and to drop their leaves.

Nature on our doorsteps: Season of mists . . .

The 2022 autumn equinox occurred on Saturday, September 23. On that day, there were approximately equal amounts of daylight hours and darkness.

There are two equinox events in the year, in March and September, and both events mark the change in our seasons.

These changes occur because the Earth’s axis is tilted in space by approximately 23 degrees.

This slant means that as the Earth orbits around the sun every year, parts of the world move from being either close to or far away from the sun’s life-giving energy and light.

For countries in the northern hemisphere where Ireland lies, the earth’s tilt means that summertime occurs when we are closest to the sun.

As autumn approaches, the northern hemisphere begins to become further away from the sun.

We begin to receive less sunlight and less heat and our days become shorter.

Trees have already been preparing for the approach of winter by storing sugars in their wood.

The equinox is the moment when daylight hours and darkness are very briefly in balance, just before the seasonal pattern changes again.

Changes in day length are keenly felt by plants and animals. This triggers seasonal changes in their growth and behaviour.

The autumn equinox is particularly important, as preparing well for the approaching winter is a critical time for many.

For us, the most visible change will come in the next few weeks when trees quicken their response to the seasonal change by changing colour and dropping their leaves.