Page last updated at 05:01 GMT, Saturday, 22 August 2009 06:01 UK

Australians 'need more seasons'

Daintree Rainforest in Cape Tribulation, Australia
Australia has tropical rainforests, deserts and temperate zones

An Australian scientist says the continent needs five or six seasons to suit its climate.

Tim Entwisle, chief of Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens, says Australia should "unhook" itself from the "arbitrary" four seasons it inherited from Britain.

Mr Entwisle has proposed "sprummer" - the season between spring and summer - and "sprinter" - an early spring.

He says a new system could help people better understand their environment and monitor signs of climate change.

"Having four three-month seasons... doesn't make any sense in the place we live," he told Australia's public broadcaster ABC News.

"Something with more seasons would work better and something that unhooks us from these arbitrary European seasons," he added.

Aboriginal Australians use up to eight seasons in some parts of the country to capture local conditions.

Mr Entwisle says that for the system to work well, different regions would need a different number of seasons.

"I'd be encouraging different areas to have local regional seasons, to spend some time working that out and to use them to reflect what's going on around us," he told ABC.

He has suggested holding a national debate on the subject, and a public competition to name the new seasons.

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