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The Seasons

The Tilting Earth             Watching the Seasons             Changing Clocks


Seasons... In some places, such as deserts or rainforests, the weather is much the same all year round. However in other places, for example northern Europe, we expect a certain kind of weather at certain times of the year. In winter, the days may often be cold or stormy, while summer days can be warm and sunny. When the weather changes regularly throughout the year like this, the changes are known as seasons. Some places have just two seasons, a wet one and a dry one, other places have four: spring, summer, autumn and winter.
Tilting Earth...  

Seasons occur because the Earth is tilted at an angle on its axis. As the Earth moves around the sun during the year, different parts of the Earth are tilted towards the sun at different times. In the Northern Hemisphere, when the North Pole tilts away from the sun, the sun is low in the sky and days are short, bringing the season we call winter. When the North Pole tilts towards the sun though, more light and heat reaches the Northern Hemisphere as the sun is high in the sky and days are long. This change brings what we know as summer. Between these two seasons are spring and autumn, where the region becomes gradually warmer and colder as it tilts towards or away from the sun respectively.

Budgie pointing


Find out more about the tilting Earth.top of page


Opposite worlds...  

These movements of the Earth all contribute to give the four seasons we experience in Great Britain and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere.   However, because of the way the seasons work, the opposite sides of the equator experience opposite seasons as the Earth moves round the sun each year.  For example winter happens in Europe and the United States when it is summer on the opposite side of the world, in Australia. 

Hot Christmas... Imagine how your Christmas day would be different if it occurred when the weather was hot, as in Australia.

Overview: When the part of the Earth you live in is tilted towards the sun, you will get more light and heat reaching the Earth’s surface. In cold seasons, your country will be in the part of the Earth tilting away from the sun.

Seasonal changes...  

Watching the Seasons.

Why don’t you keep a record of how the weather changes during the year in your area? Youmagnifying glass could note the length of day and night, how cold it is and the position of the Sun in the sky, for example. It is also interesting to see how seasons affect the lives of both plants and animals. Find a tree that loses its leaves in autumn (what we call a deciduous tree). Study the tree each month to see how its appearance changes. Animals also react to winter, but in a different way. Some birds migrate to warmer places in the winter, and squirrels survive by eating food they have stored up earlier in the year. Hares in the Arctic turn white in the winter so they are more camouflaged against the snow. You may have noticed that even your pet cat or dog develops a thicker, warmer coat in winter.

Time changes...  

Changing Clocks.

Did you know that some countries use a different time in summer? We do in alarm clockBritain, don’t we? Do you know why? It is to help people such as farmers who work outside to make the most of daylight hours. The clocks are put forward one hour in spring, and in autumn they are put back one hour again. Do you know what we call the two different time periods in England? British Summer Time (BST) and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).



As well as the different seasons we experience, the weather also changes from day totop of page day.  We'll learn more about some of these variations on the next page. 

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