Temperature and seasons

Earth is heated by the Sun and has an average surface temperature of 15°C. The highest recorded temperature on the surface is 58°C at Al

Aziziyah in Libya; the lowest temperature recorded is -89.6°C at Vostok Station in Antarctica.

Varying temperatures and pressures in the atmosphere create strong winds.

The Earth has seasons because its axis is tilted at 23.5° off the perpendicular to the plane of its orbit (Figure 6.9).

The four climatic seasons are called summer (hot conditions), autumn (mild conditions), winter (cold conditions), and spring (mild conditions). The seasons in the northern hemisphere are opposite to those in the southern hemisphere. Today the Earth has a fairly stable climate within a narrow range of temperatures. In the past, however, there may have been rapid and dramatic climate change. Such changes may have resulted from changes in the position of the Earth in its orbit around the Sun, increased volcanic activity, changed atmospheric composition, or large meteorite impacts.

Figure 6.9 The seasons on Earth.
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