Science, Tech, Math › Science Climate in the Northern vs Southern Hemispheres Share Flipboard Email Print Matt Mawson / Getty Images Science Weather & Climate Understanding Your Forecast Storms & Other Phenomena Chemistry Biology Physics Geology Astronomy By Tiffany Means Meteorology Expert B.S., Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, University of North Carolina Tiffany Means is a meteorologist and member of the American Meteorological Society who has worked for CNN, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and more. our editorial process Tiffany Means Updated July 25, 2019 You may think that weather is virtually the same worldwide, but on the contrary, the type of weather you experience is somewhat unique to which part of the world you live in. Events like tornadoes, which are commonplace here in the United States, are a rarity in other countries. Storms we call "hurricanes" are known by another name in the world's far oceans. And perhaps one of the most well known—which season you're in depends on which hemisphere (which side, north or south, of the equator you're on)—Northern or Southern—you live in. Why do the Northern and Southern Hemispheres see opposite seasons? We'll explore this answer, plus other ways their weather is strikingly different from the others. 1. Our Opposite Hemispheres Have Opposite Seasons December may be ... but our neighbors in the Southern Hemisphere rarely ever see snow on Christmas (except in Antarctica) for one simple reason—December begins their summer season. How can this be? The reason why is the same as why we experience seasons at all—the Earth's tilt. Our planet doesn't "sit" perfectly upright, but rather, leans 23.5° from its axis (the imaginary vertical line through Earth's center which points toward the North Star). As you may know, this tilt is what gives us the seasons. It also orients the Northern and Southern Hemispheres in opposite directions so that whenever one points its innermost toward the sun, the other aims away from the sun. Northern Hemisphere Southern Hemisphere Winter Solstice December 21/22 June Spring Equinox March 20/21 September Summer Solstice June 20/21 December Fall Equinox September 22/23 March 2. Our Hurricanes and Low-Pressure Systems Spin in Opposite Directions In the Northern Hemisphere, the Coriolis force, a which deflects to the right, gives hurricanes their signature counter-clockwise spin. but spin counter-clockwise. Because Earth rotates to the east, all free-moving objects such as wind, low-pressure areas, and hurricanes are deflected to the right of their path of motion in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemi. There's a misconception that because of the Coriolis force, even water in bathrooms spirals clockwise down the drain—but this isn't true! Toilet water isn't of a large enough scale for the Coriolis force so its effects on it are negligible. 3. Our Milder Climate Take a moment to compare a map or globe of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres...what do you notice? That's right! There's more landmass north of the equator and more ocean to its south. And since we know that water warms and cools more slowly than land does, we can guess that the Southern Hemisphere has a milder climate than the Northern Hemisphere, Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Means, Tiffany. "Climate in the Northern vs Southern Hemispheres." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/northern-vs-southern-hemisphere-weather-3444434. Means, Tiffany. (2020, August 27). Climate in the Northern vs Southern Hemispheres. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/northern-vs-southern-hemisphere-weather-3444434 Means, Tiffany. "Climate in the Northern vs Southern Hemispheres." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/northern-vs-southern-hemisphere-weather-3444434 (accessed April 18, 2021). copy citation Watch Now: Overview of the Four Seasons To the Right, To the Right (The Coriolis Effect) Geography of the Northern Hemisphere Solstices and Equinoxes Geography of the Southern Hemisphere What Is the Coriolis Effect? Which Hemisphere Are You In? Understanding Winds When Is the Summer Solstice? The Basics of Air Pressure Tropical Cyclone Characteristics Which Way Does the Wind Blow? Our Four Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn Winter Solstice Major Lines of Latitude and Longitude on a World Map Air Pressure and How It Affects the Weather When Is the Spring Equinox?