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, How Does the Coriolis Effect Impact Earth? Geography for Beginners: Hemispheres Ever Wonder What Makes Wind? What Are the Major Lines of Latitude and Longitude on a World Map? Where Tropical Cyclones Form and How They Are Named How Does Air Pressure Affect the Weather? Everything You Need to Know about the Southern Hemisphere Is the Coriolis Force Fake? Why Do We Have Seasons? Overview of Northern Hemisphere Geography What is the Jet Stream? When Does Summer Start? What Is the Jet Stream and How Does it Influence the Climate What Is the Longest Day of the Year? Which Way Does the Wind Blow? Which Is Worse, Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, or Hurricanes?