When we think of the seasons of the year, we usually think of the climate that accompanies it. Summer is hot, winter is cold. And the monsoon, well, it’s wet. But have you wondered why the seasons occur at all? And how different areas experience these seasons at different times? In fact, some places don’t have a distinct monsoon at all.
Four Seasons of the Year
There are mainly four seasons of the year – Summer, winter, autumn and spring. Each of these is accompanied by a change in the weather and the surrounding environment.
What is Spring?
Spring is the beginning of the cycle. New vegetation grows, and the weather is generally warm and sunny. Sometimes it rains in spring. It’s the time when the plants and animals come alive and out of hibernation.
What is Summer?
Summer is the hot weather season. Temperatures run highest in summer, accompanied by, depending on the location, extreme humidity or dryness. It is also a time for heat waves and droughts, and even forest fires in some areas. Summer is a time for long days.
What is Autumn?
Autumn marks the beginning of cool weather. It is the time when leaves turn yellow/brown, and animals begin preparations because “winter is coming”. It is also harvest season, which is a cause for celebration in most cultures.
What is Winter?
Winter is the coldest period of the year. The time when animals hibernate, and vegetation decreases. There is a general lull in the environment and in areas where it snows, it is snowman time. The days are shortest in winter.
What causes the change of seasons?
Now we come to the why behind the seasons. There are two major factors that influence the seasons you experience.
They are –
- Tilt of the earth’s axis as it orbits the sun
- Your location on earth
Why are seasons different around the world?
We know that different areas on earth experience the seasons at different times. This means that when people in the northern hemisphere experience winter, the people in the southern hemisphere experience summer.
Which hemisphere experiences which season depends on the axial tilt of the earth. The earth’s spin axis is tilted at an angle of around 23.5 degrees. Thus, the side of the earth that is tilted towards the sun as it revolves around it experiences summer, while the opposite side experiences winter. In some locations, the earth isn’t tilted towards or away from the sun. At these times, these regions experience spring and autumn.
We’ve often heard that the poles experience 6 months of summer followed by months of winter. Considering this, shouldn’t the snow at the poles melt in the summer? This again is avoided because of the earth’s tilted axis. Even as the earth spins, the poles don’t move. Hence, they never face the sun directly. This means it never gets warm enough for the snow at the poles to melt. And thus, our poles always remain cold and experience frigid winters. On the other hand, the equatorial region of the sun-facing hemisphere gets maximum sun-exposure, and thus experiences hotter summers.
The seasons of the year are yet another amazing aspect of life on earth. They add variety to our time here and let us experience activities like swimming and surfing in warm weather and building snowmen and skiing in cold weather.