Father Christmas comes in swimming trunksGeology and Geography
This year, too, it is far too hot for Father Christmas in Sydney. While we in Europe are keeping warm with biscuits and mulled wine, in Australia it is high summer temperatures at the same time – over 30 degrees Celsius. Unfavourable conditions for a Christmas as we know it.
But the Australians stick to their European roots, even if it seems a bit absurd: fairy lights, Father Christmases with white beards wrapped in thick coats, biscuits, fir trees – everything that belongs to a Christmas celebration. Only the reindeer are sometimes exchanged for kangaroos. It’s hard to say what really comes from Christmas feelings and what is more folklore for the tourists. In any case, it seems to be worth it: On the famous Bondi Beach, turkey barbecues are held for the tourists and Father Christmases perform tricks on surfboards.
Christmas in July
In New Zealand, Christmas also falls in the warm season – there is no real Christmas spirit. It is more likely in July, when it gets really cold. On the South Island it even snows then. And some New Zealanders take the opportunity to celebrate Christmas a second time!
Why are there seasons?
We enjoy the first warm rays of sunshine in spring, look forward to visits to the swimming pool in summer and trudge through colourful leaves in autumn. In December at the latest, we take our thick jumpers out of the cupboard, because it can get quite cold in the winter months – and it usually snows too. The seasons influence our lives, but also those of plants and animals. But how do the seasons change?
The most striking difference between the seasons: It’s warm in summer, cold in winter. The heat comes mainly from the sun, so the difference between summer and winter must have something to do with the sun.
In fact, there are several reasons: In summer, the days are long and the nights short. In summer, the air and soil have plenty of time to warm up during the day and cool down only slightly during the short night. In winter it is the other way round: the sun only brings a little warmth for a short time, and the air and soil cool down during the long nights.
In addition, the warming rays of the sun are weaker in winter. Compared to summer, the sun is lower in the sky. The sun’s rays therefore hit the ground more flatly. This spreads the sunlight over a larger area, so that each individual spot on the ground receives less light and heat. In addition, the sun’s flat rays have to travel a longer distance through the atmosphere, and more energy is lost in the process.
In summer, on the other hand, the sun is high in the sky. The light rays hit the ground steeply and bring a lot of warmth with them.
But while we in the northern hemisphere enjoy the warm summer, in the southern hemisphere it is winter. Because whether the sun is high or low in the sky and whether the days are long or short depends on whether it is the northern or southern hemisphere that is tilted towards the sun.
Near the equator, the length of the day and the position of the sun change very little during the year, so that it is tropically hot there all year round.
The sun rises at the edge of the world
For a long time, the inhabitants of Qaanaaq have persevered in complete darkness. Now, in mid-February, the moment they have been looking forward to for months has arrived. Despite the freezing cold of minus 35 degrees Celsius, they have gathered at midday. As the first rays of sunlight shine into their faces, the people sing a song in the old tradition and throw their hats into the air.
Qaanaaq is one of the northernmost settlements in the world. It lies at the very tip of Greenland, just south of the 78th parallel. About 600 people, most of them Inuit, live here – in complete darkness for almost four months of the year. In winter, the polar night prevails, the sun remains behind the horizon around the clock. In summer, however, it does not set for four months. It also only shines flatly, but at least the temperatures climb above freezing during these months. In between, there are months of twilight, when it is neither really day nor night. The seasons in Qaanaaq are not comparable to ours.
The mirror sun
Thomas Schuler has a similar problem to the Inuit: no sun shines on his farm for four months. However, he does not live high up in the north, but deep in the Black Forest, in Simonswald. There, the sun rises every day, even in winter, but it only makes a flat path across the sky. Too flat for the Schulers’ farm, which is surrounded by mountain ridges of the Upper Black Forest. In winter, these cast such long shadows that not a ray of sunlight reaches the farm all day. But the resourceful tinkerer knew how to help himself: He installed a large mirror on the opposite mountainside. Now at least a little sunlight shines through the window even in winter.
- Thick air in mega-cities
- Germany’s first offshore wind farm
- The race of the rivers
- Father Christmas comes in swimming trunks
- The permafrost thaws
- The rubbish in the sea goes on a merry-go-round
- The tough battle for water
- The first man on the moon
- China shoots off rain clouds
- Chinese firecracker against evil monster
- Chaos in the airspace over Europe
- Landslide disaster
- Breathtaking: Mount Everest conquered without oxygen equipment!
- The sun rises at the edge of the world