From: Henry Spencer <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: EARTH'S ORBIT ABOUT THE SUN
Date: Mon, 10 Jun 1996 03:46:49 GMT
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org> Larry Brunson <email@example.com> writes:
>I have a question about why our hot season starts with the summer
>solstice. It would seem that it should be centered about it...
>...Somehow it sounds like a pat
>answer to say that the initial 3 months of northern hemisphere sun serve
>to heat the earth so that the latter 3 months feel hot because of latent
It may sound pat, but it's true. At the end of winter, there is a lot of
cold air, and cold ground, and cold water, in the northern hemisphere.
It takes quite a lot of accumulated heating to warm all that up, especially
since the heating effect doesn't immediately go full blast at the vernal
equinox. Try swimming in a reasonably large and deep lake (Lake Ontario
is a good example) in May if you want proof that things warm up slowly!
>It seems inadequate because the sun never gets any higher than
>23deg north, and we're at 50...
If you compute the difference in solar energy, per square kilometer of
surface, between winter and summer, you'll find that it makes a large
difference. What with the higher sun and the much longer days, we get a
lot more heat in summer.
>Also, we have to wait well after the
>summer solstice (until August) (even though the sun keeps getting farther
>away from our latitude) to get our blistering heat. What gives?
Thermal inertia, pure and simple. The heat input is weakening, but it's
building on the cumulative results of a whole summer of heating.
If we feared danger, mankind would never | Henry Spencer
go to space. --Ellison S. Onizuka | firstname.lastname@example.org