Why is it warmer during summer?

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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
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TheAnt

Guest
MeteorWayne":f93gde7q 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 :(
Er, its actually the other way around. We got quite some of the older generation around here and thats why the result isnt worse than it is. With the complete deterioration of education, a poll on people under the age of 25 we would see less than ½ getting the right answer. Depressing but true.
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
I was figuring around 20% for high school kids, and 12% for adults... :( :shock:

40% for SDC posters, I hope.... :lol:
 
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orionrider

Guest
Even with the response in the thread, I still see people answering wrong. So it's not only ignorance, but laziness too, or answering wrong just for fun. I don't think the current % really matters anymore.

Most people have been to school until the age of 18. They learned to solve (a+b)², they saw redox chemical reactions, ATCG in DNA and many other things. My children each got a whole chapter about global warming, but they could not say why there are seasons :shock:

And then there is Science Fiction and the very convincing universe it provides. Many people are so impregnated by Star-Wars that despite their education they believe in things like instant communication, easy space travel, artificial gravity generators, truncated light beams and evil machines.

Another favorite that regularly comes back on the forums is ignorance of the inverse square law. People believe aliens on Tau Ceti can watch the Lewinsky case live on CNN. :lol:
 
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christineb1979

Guest
Thanks for the tip i thought it because of the sun... anyways thanks again..
 
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Saiph

Guest
While it should be a prevalent topic in science education that everyone gets told at one point or another, I can't say I'm surprised that people get it wrong. For most people it's just a fact to file away, and they don't really grasp it (a failing of the education system).

But it's got to do with everyday experience and that pesky "common sense" that often does more harm than good in science. People intuitively know that proximity to a heat source means it's hotter, but few have internalized why it's hotter. As such they don't understand that by changing the way one is facing the heat source can also change the temperature, for the exact same reasons that getting closer makes it hotter.

Since people don't incorporate flux (the concept in question here, defined as the flow of something, like light, through an area) they don't have anything to tie that fact into after they've learned it. And so it gets lost. Unfortunately, for most people even if they learn about flux, it has so little role in their daily lives that they lose that too.



For anybody reading this, and who doesn't already understand why it's warmer in the summer I'll explain. It's based on the concept of Flux, which is the flow of something through an area. Now this can be anything, water, light, energy, magnetic fields, electricity, you name it.

Now, to use the concept you have to identify the source, in our example the sun, and what's flowing which is light this time. You then have to draw the flow lines, or how the substance is leaving the source. In our case it's a simple case of drawing lines straight out from the sun, radially in all directions (think happy kindergarten suns!). Sometimes it's more complicated than that, it may be like the magnetic (or electric) field lines about the earth or a magnet, which go out from one pole, and in at another.

Next you identify the area you're investigating, and observe how many of these "lines" pass through the area. That's it, thats flux :).

The complicated part comes in observing how it changes depending on what you do with the area. Take it closer to the sun, and it's going to intercept more lines...which means it's getting more light, and transfering more energy (making it hotter in this case). But you can ALSO just change how the area is facing, and turn it sideways. As you do so, that area (which is very thin) will intercept less lines...and become cool, exactly as if you'd moved it further away.

There's two little experiments you can do real quick to get a feel for how this works if you'd like. One is simply play with a flashlight. Find a small piece of paper, and shine the light straight down it, and look at how bright the reflection is, ONLY on the paper. Now bring the flashlight closer and take another look, then further away. You'll notice that as you bring it closer, it gets brighter, and further is dimmer. For the next step put the flashlight back where you started, but then move it off to shine at an angle while keep it the same distance from the paper. You'll notice that the paper now reflects less light, as most of it is 'wasted' on the rest of the table.

For a more tangible grasp of how the angle of a surface affects flux, just drag a knife, spoon, spatula or some flat surfaced item through water. Without changing speed you can easily feel how the resistance changes depending on if you hold the utensil flat on to the water, or edge on as you move it. This is also due to the flux of water that impacts the surface. Flat on is higher flux, meaning more resistance, edge on is less flux, and less resistance.
 
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Yuri_Armstrong

Guest
Do the perihelion and aphelion distances of Earth to the sun make much of a difference temperature wise? I was always taught seasons were a result of Earth tilting on its axis, but since we don't go in a perfect circle around the sun I was wondering...
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
Very little. What is of more consequence is whether there are continents or ocean on the side tilted toward the sun in summer.
 
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orionrider

Guest
From Wikipedia:
[...] research shows that the Earth 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.

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.
 
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bdewoody

Guest
This was 6th or 7th grade science for me. Florida (Jacksonville) must have had pretty good public schools back then (around 1960) I kind of remember after 1957 and especially 1960 more emphasis was put on science and math. The number of people who got it wrong disturbs me.
 
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