In this set, we'll identify mechanisms that underlie the cycle of days and seasons, and understand their impact on the timing and duration.
What is the cause for the change in seasons throughout the year?
Imagine Earth's orbit were changed from its elliptical shape to be a perfect circle around the Sun, so that the distance to the Sun never changed.
How would this affect the seasons?
If it's winter in the Northern hemisphere, will it be winter in the Southern hemisphere as well?
What causes day and night?
At any given time, what fraction of the Earth is in day or night?
The North and South poles experience nearly six months of continuous days and nearly six months of continuous nights.
In this set we established the basic mechanisms that give rise to the seasons, and the cycle of day and night. We have only skimmed the surface of seasonal dynamics and what gives rise to periodic and spatially varying weather cycles on Earth.
Later, we'll look at these patterns more closely, and see how further details can be understood by considering the interaction of these fundamental mechanisms with other features of Earth like ocean currents, atmospheric flows, and long range effects like the Coriolis force.