Weather, climate, seasonal changes; all of these are vital to the earth’s renewal process. A season is so much more than just hot or cold weather; it is an entire cycle of death and rebirth. This full 360-degree cycle affects everything in our daily lives. Food supply, water supply, safety, even what we wear is governed by the four seasons and the changing weather patterns.

So how exactly do the seasons work?

For starters, did you know it’s not actually how far the earth is from the sun that causes the change in seasons? It is, in fact, the earth’s tilt that causes the major change in seasons.

The Earth orbits the Sun at a 23.45-degree tilt. As the earth orbits the sun (through a 365.256 day period, 1 year) it also spins on its axis over a 24 hour period which is what gives us 12 hours of night and 12 hours of day. Locations very far north generally experience very different days and longer/shorter seasons.

Here you can clearly see that day and night is related to which side of the earth is facing toward the sun. Whereas the seasons depend on which hemisphere receives more or less light.

The earth is tilted away from the sun during the winter months and toward the sun during the summer months. In this time, the poles will get majority darkness or majority sunlight in the day.

Seasons translate into climates, and the weather is uniquely different all across the world. Geographic location plays a huge role in the difference in weather. For example, a European country will have extremely different seasonal weather conditions to an Asian country.

Solstices and equinoxes

Every year, in June and December, the solstices mark the beginning of summer and winter. Come March and September, the equinoxes mark the start of fall and spring.