3) What causes the Seasons?

As a follow-up to my previous post, I thought I’d try to briefly explain why we have different seasons throughout the year.

The Earth rotates once every 24 hours, however it doesn’t spin vertically (i.e. about the North/South Pole). It in fact spins at a tilt of about 23 degrees away from the vertical.

This means that in late December, during the “Winter Solstice” (where the Earth’s tilt away from the sun is at a maximum) the Southern Hemisphere receives about 3x the amount of sunlight as the Northern Hemisphere. Moving on 6 months, & the opposite occurs during the Summer Solstice in late June.

The extra sunlight results in warmer temperatures & this we call Summer, while less sunlight results in cooler conditions & Winter. Spring & Autumn/Fall lie in between the two extremes, & are basically transitional seasons between the two.

This also explains that while it may be a chilly Winter in the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere at the same time is going through a stinking hot Summer!

Simply: The Earth rotates on a tilted axis.

MG

Sources:
HowStuffWorks
WeatherQuestions

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One thought on “3) What causes the Seasons?

  1. [...] mentioned in my previous post (What causes the seasons?), winter delivers much less sunlight than summer (about a third less during the peak). From [...]

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