First Alert Weather Academy: Why do we have seasons?

First Alert Weather Academy: Why do we have seasons?

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - One of the great things about living where we do us the ability to enjoy four seasons.

Well, living here in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry, it's actually more like three seasons: summer, spring and an extended fall. Everybody has a favorite season.

My favorite is Fall! I love the warm days and the typically dry weather, excluding hurricanes of course.

Have you ever thought about why we have seasons? Why do we have to change from one season to another? Why doesn’t it just stay hot all year?

To find the answer we need to look at the Earth from space. The two main reasons for seasons are the Earth’s tilt and its orbit around the sun.

The Earth is tilted on its axis 23.4º. This allows the sun to impact areas at different angles.

A higher angle allows for more of the sun’s rays to impact the Earth.

The Earth's orbit is not a true circle, it's actually more elliptical. This means the Earth's distance from the sun varies throughout the year. In the northern hemisphere this puts the Earth closest to the sun in the winter and farthest from the sun in the summer.

The Earth's elliptical orbit allows for the same area to receive different amounts of sunlight throughout the year. The more sun an area receives the warmer the temps.

Let's talk about our seasons. The Vernal Equinox is the first day of Spring and occurs around March 20. This is when the sun is directly over the equator allowing for roughly 12 hours of daylight all over the Earth.

The Summer Solstice is the first day of Summer and occurs around June 20. This is when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer and at its most northern position. This allows for 24 hours of sunlight north of the Arctic Circle with decreasing amounts of sunlight as you go south. No daylight south of the Antarctic circle.

The Autumnal Equinox is the first day of Fall and occurs around September 20. This is when the sun is directly over the equator allowing for nearly 12 hours of daylight for all areas.

The Winter Solstice is the first day of Winter and occurs around December 21. This is when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn and at its furthest south position. Sunlight varies from 24 hours of daylight south of the Antarctic Circle to zero hours north of the Arctic Circle.

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