To some, winter is simply a season to get through, for others it’s a time for fun and frolics on snow-covered slopes. But what causes winter? Seasonal changes are the result of the earth’s once-a-year orbit around the sun together with the tilt of the earth’s axis. Winter is not the effect of the earth moving further from the sun, as many people believe. The fact is that winter arrives when the sun is at its closest to the earth. But our earth tilts at over 23°, resulting in a variation in the distance between parts of the earth’s surface and the sun during the path of the earth’s orbit. In winter, the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun and the rays glancing off the earth at a lower angle emit less energy and thus temperatures are lower. Conversely the southern hemisphere will be tilted towards the sun, is thus exposed to more direct sunlight and experiences increased temperatures.

The seasons in the two hemispheres are always opposite to each other. When the northern hemisphere is enjoying summer, the southern hemisphere is in the grip of winter and vice versa.

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