Why is it warmer during summer?

Why is it warmer during summer?

  • Because of the Global Marine Circulation

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Because the Earth is much closer to the Sun

    Votes: 2 6.7%
  • Because the Earth's axis is tilted to it's orbital plane

    Votes: 28 93.3%

  • Total voters
    30
Status
Not open for further replies.
O

orionrider

Guest
Today is the first day of summer.
So I ask this simple question to both of my daughters (13 and 15). And then I'm appalled, as in 'struck with consternation' :eek: :roll:
So, I go find my wife (46, Spanish teacher) and ask "Do you know why summer is warmer than winter?" and she says "Sure, it's because the Earth...........................". :shock: :oops: :cry:

Later at work, I ask the same question. Out of 10 people, 7 give me the same infuriating answer. One says he doesn't know. All are IT-specialists, most have a degree in computer science. Two are American, one is German, one is French and the others are Belgians.


There is something very wrong with our education system, if children can explain mitochondrial DNA and all about global warming but not why there are seasons :!: :evil:

Of course you know why it is warmer during summer, right? :mrgreen:
 
O

orionrider

Guest
Amazing! :shock:
For those who have it wrong, I will post the correct answer tomorrow... ;)
 
C

CalliArcale

Guest
I'm surprised how skewed the answer is already; I thought the community here would have voted up that answer sooner. Oh well.

It is a very common misconception. (I won't say which, to avoid spoiling your answer.) In fact, I've heard some teachers pass it on as fact, which is probably a large part of the problem. It seems so intuitively obvious, yet it's wrong.

I'll give a hint for those who haven't yet answered: the reason summer is warmer than winter is the same as why today is the solstice.

Another hint: seasons are reversed in the southern hemisphere. Therefore, the answer must account for that.

Interesting experiment -- I think I will find some people to ask this question of as well, to see how they do!
 
S

Shpaget

Guest
Oh my...
To see such answers on some random forum would be disappointing, but here on SPACE.com... :(
 
O

orionrider

Guest
It's improving dramatically ;)
The tips are quite obvious, with the solstice hint and all :mrgreen:

seasons are reversed in the southern hemisphere
Ah, my wife said to that "Oh, but that's because they're on the other side" :ugeek:
Like the 'dark side' or something? I was never that close to divorce :lol:
 
O

orionrider

Guest
To see such answers on some random forum would be disappointing, but here on SPACE.com...
I think many people observe the forums without registering. They can't post, but they can vote in polls. So the results don't reflect how the members have voted.
 
D

drwayne

Guest
"It is a very common misconception. (I won't say which, to avoid spoiling your answer.) In fact, I've heard some teachers pass it on as fact, which is probably a large part of the problem. It seems so intuitively obvious, yet it's wrong."

I remember being taught the wrong thing back in early elementary school.

Ironically, I knew the real answer, but I didn't really KNOW it until I got a chance to play with a celestial
sphere, and saw how the ecliptic played in this ballgame.
 
C

Couerl

Guest
Simple questions like this trip up a lot of people and it is unfortunate. I can't remember any of my teachers gving me the wrong answer to this particular one, but I do remember a teacher who said thunder was the result of clouds crashing in to eachother! :lol:
 
I

ILUVSPACCE

Guest
I believe I was taught right in elementary.... I hope. :?
 
3

3488

Guest
Couerl":1wfmn04w said:
Simple questions like this trip up a lot of people and it is unfortunate. I can't remember any of my teachers gving me the wrong answer to this particular one, but I do remember a teacher who said thunder was the result of clouds crashing in to eachother! :lol:
I agree it's horrifying :eek: just the lack of the most basic scientific literacy is shocking. Also the rise in creationism & astrology, the dumbing down of science & engineering in schools, colleges, etc is also a huge part of the problem.

To think clouds crashing together causes thunder, I also knew someone who thought that & this person often flew. I asked. if the plane he was on crashed into solid clouds during ascent or decent or the plane had to swerve around them & he said no, just passed through them, so I asked how them 'bashing' together caused thunder?? He couldn't answer :)

Clue definitely is Summer north of the Equator / Winter south of the Equator. Another hint, at the Equinoxes in March & September the Sun passes directly over the Equator (March heading North, September heading South).

Andrew Brown.
 
O

orionrider

Guest
Even educated people can be fooled by intuitive questions. Like, you know, what white cows drink :mrgreen:

More troubling is when educated yet too enthusiastic people believe in things that are far from possible, like sentient machines, reversing gravity or towing asteroids with the space shuttle. I recently read about a guy wanting to make 'In Situ' steel on the Moon by digging all the necessary ingredients (iron ore, coke and limestone) ;)
 
O

orionrider

Guest
The right answer is: "Because the Earth's axis is tilted to it's orbital plane".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasons



The Earth being tilted to the plane in which it turns around the sun, half of the year the southern hemisphere gets more sunlight, the next 6 months the northern hemisphere gets more light.

More sun means longer days, shorter nights and overall more warmth. Go far enough north (north of the polar circle), and you can actually see the sun turning around you for more than 24h. At the pole, the sun never sets for the entire 3 summer months!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_circle


What about the distance from the sun then?

Well, it has a small effect, but not what you would expect. From Wikipedia:
Seasonal weather differences between hemispheres are further caused by the elliptical orbit of Earth. Earth reaches perihelion (the point in its orbit closest to the Sun) in January, and it reaches aphelion (farthest point from the Sun) in July. Even though the effect this has on Earth's seasons is minor, it does noticeably soften the northern hemisphere's winters and summers. In the southern hemisphere, the opposite effect is observed.
[...] research shows that the Earth as a whole is actually slightly warmer when farther from the sun. This is because the northern hemisphere has more land than the southern, and land warms more readily than sea. Mars however experiences wide temperature variations and violent dust storms every year at perihelion.
Sorry, the 'Global Marine Circulation' is something I made up, but you might be interested in the Thermohaline circulation and its effect on climate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermohaline_circulation


OK now, everybody spread the news! :ugeek:
 
I

ILUVSPACCE

Guest
orionrider":2zvjcv12 said:
The right answer is: "Because the Earth's axis is tilted to it's orbital plane".
Fewwww... That was close. :lol:
 
3

3488

Guest
orionrider":ptuvd5o6 said:
Even educated people can be fooled by intuitive questions. Like, you know, what white cows drink :mrgreen:

More troubling is when educated yet too enthusiastic people believe in things that are far from possible, like sentient machines, reversing gravity or towing asteroids with the space shuttle. I recently read about a guy wanting to make 'In Situ' steel on the Moon by digging all the necessary ingredients (iron ore, coke and limestone) ;)
I agree, it is pitiful, shameful & extremely disturbing the growing misunderstanding or even total lack of understanding of basic science. I am not an expert, pretty good in one or two fields perhaps, but even then my basic science is up to speed.

Andrew Brown.
 
O

orionrider

Guest
Other 'space' questions to ask children in high school ;)

The space shuttle reaches orbit because:
a. it goes 200 miles up, as high as the satellites;
c. it goes into space, where objects are weightless;
b. it goes too fast to fall back to the ground;

Astronauts float in the Space Station because:
a. gravity is cancelled in the vacuum of space;
b. they are free falling all the time;
c. they are far enough from the Earth;
 
M

MeteorWayne

Guest
Yeah, at least if you ask high school kids, some will get the answer right. I shudder to think what the percentage would be among adults :(
 
I

ILUVSPACCE

Guest
orionrider":fsnsudpj said:
Other 'space' questions to ask children in high school ;)

The space shuttle reaches orbit because:
a. it goes 200 miles up, as high as the satellites;
c. it goes into space, where objects are weightless;
b. it goes too fast to fall back to the ground;

Astronauts float in the Space Station because:
a. gravity is cancelled in the vacuum of space;
b. they are free falling all the time;
c. they are far enough from the Earth;
I am going to go with b for both answers. Oh jeeez I hope i am right. :|
 
O

orionrider

Guest
Notice how I viciously labeled the first propositions, just to confuse the Russians a little bit more... a,c,b. :mrgreen:

ILUVSPACE: you love space and it shows! Congratulations! You win one full year of FREE membership! :cool:
 
D

drwayne

Guest
Every once in a while we get someone here who assumes that because various anti-satellite weapons
reach the orbital altitude of satellites, that they have gone into orbit.

We also get folks from time to time that do seem to basically believe that if you can lift something
up 200 km, and let it go, it will be in orbit.

I do recall by the way being told the "clouds bumping into each other" line as well. It is of
course tough to separate stories that were told to children because it was felt they were
not ready to handle the real ones from something the teller legitimately believed.
 
D

drwayne

Guest
I remember giving lab students in first semester physics a quiz on dynamics when I asked them to
choose which curve best represented a car driving off a cliff. A good percentage of them would
choose the "Roadrunner-esque" curve of a linear motion off the cliff, followed by a stright down fall.

Later, a curved gun barrel quiz would lead to some interesting circular motion guesses.

:)
 
O

orionrider

Guest


Funny you mention that. I read that in 1945, kids fighting the desperate battle of Berlin received the contraption above (StG44). It was designed to be used from inside a vehicle but since nazi troops had no more fuel it was recycled for urban warfare. Many children thought the bullet would come back, boomerang-like...
 
E

EarthlingX

Guest
orionrider":3q2hw4rd said:


Funny you mention that. I read that in 1945, kids fighting the desperate battle of Berlin received the contraption above (StG44). It was designed to be used from inside a vehicle but since nazi troops had no more fuel it was recycled for urban warfare. Many children thought the bullet would come back, boomerang-like...
What a waste of a very nice weapon :shock: Could it survive a shot without blowing in face ?
 
M

MeteorWayne

Guest
Drifting a bit off topic here, please let's get back to the seasons :)
 
Z

ZiraldoAerospace

Guest
MeteorWayne":1m866ggt said:
Yeah, at least if you ask high school kids, some will get the answer right. I shudder to think what the percentage would be among adults :(
Lol not necessarily... None of my friends would be able to answer these questions (and most are aspiring engineers, chemists, doctors, etc.)
 
N

neilsox

Guest
Near the equator, summer and winter are about the same temperature. The Earth is about 3% closer to the Sun in early January. This makes South of the equator slightly warmer in summer. Height above sea-level is also cooler, especially for land that slopes downward away from the Equator. Ocean currants also help determine the temperature, but the tilt on Earth's axis is by far the main temperature cause, at medium and high latitudes. This because less heat is delivered when the sun is close to the horizon and sun rise and sun set are closer together, in winter = nights are longer. Neil
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts