Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

Why it just got really cold...



So in case nobody noticed, a few days ago the temperature dropped from levels typical of mid-June to somewhere off the charts that I would estimate to be pretty darn close to absolute zero. Actually, the temperature is now just slightly below the average for the season, but why did it get really cold really fast? To start, I'm sure the jet stream had something to do with it, pushing cold arctic air into upstate NY, and pushing out the warmer tropical air we had been experiencing. But more importantly, its now late October and it gets cold around this time every year. But why is that? First of all, the earth rotates on a tilted axis; so in other words the axis on which the earth spins is not perpendicular to the plane on which path of earth's orbit around the sun lies. The ends of the axis of rotation are the geographical north and south poles, not to be confused with magnetic poles. As the earth travels in a slightly elliptical path around the sun, the geographical north pole always points in the same direction in space, so during the summer in the northern hemisphere the pole is pointing in the general direction of the sun while in the winter the pole is pointing away from the sun. As a result, the angle at which the sun's rays strike the earths surface is closer to 90 degrees and less light waves are reflected into space, causing more energy to strike the earth, causing the temperature to rise. The opposite happens in the winter, and this is the reason why it is summer in the northern hemisphere while it is winter in the southern hemisphere. Therefore, the reason why it got cold is because light isn't hitting the earth like it used to. For a visual representation of this, watch this video.


Recommended Comments

Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Terms of Use

The pages of APlusPhysics.com, Physics in Action podcasts, and other online media at this site are made available as a service to physics students, instructors, and others. Their use is encouraged and is free of charge. Teachers who wish to use materials either in a classroom demonstration format or as part of an interactive activity/lesson are granted permission (and encouraged) to do so. Linking to information on this site is allowed and encouraged, but content from APlusPhysics may not be made available elsewhere on the Internet without the author's written permission.

Copyright Notice

APlusPhysics.com, Silly Beagle Productions and Physics In Action materials are copyright protected and the author restricts their use to online usage through a live internet connection. Any downloading of files to other storage devices (hard drives, web servers, school servers, CDs, etc.) with the exception of Physics In Action podcast episodes is prohibited. The use of images, text and animations in other projects (including non-profit endeavors) is also prohibited. Requests for permission to use such material on other projects may be submitted in writing to info@aplusphysics.com. Licensing of the content of APlusPhysics.com for other uses may be considered in the future.

  • Create New...