First Day of Spring

 

 

This  Anna’s hummingbird was photographed feeding on a red flowering current bush this morning.  Spring will arrive at 9:15 AM today. We know the earth is tilted 23.4 degrees and that is the cause of the seasons.  The change at our latitude, about half way between the equator and the north pole, is dramatic.  The grasses are turning green and growing.  Trees are blooming and beginning to turn green, and insects are beginning to appear.  Flowering plants are emerging,  people are mowing their lawns, and thinking about planting gardens.

So, what would our world be like if the earth was not tilted?  It would mean the sun would be over the equator, like today, everyday of the year. There would only be one season everywhere. The equatorial zone would be extremely hot  and stormy and only gradually cooling away from the equator. No seasons would mean no timing for plant growth or dormancy. It would be a world much different from this one.  It’s hard to imagine no seasons.

What if our world was tilted  90 degrees instead of just 23 degrees?  It would mean spring and fall would be much like ours, but it would mean that on the first day of summer the sun would be right over the north pole and would stay there for some time. No night or day just extreme sunshine. Six months later our North pole would be in a deep freeze. It would be a hellish planet switching with violent extremes of freezing to baking.  What kind of life would even exist on such a world?

But here we are with our spring and the earth’s gentle tilt and the transition from spring to summer will be just a little bit more  each day.  Although it can be a bit too cold in the winter and too hot at times in the summer, the changes in the seasons are better than the alternatives.

 

 

 

About Paul Snoey

I have a degree in Biology and Environmental Science from WSU Vancouver
I am very fond of Gee Creek and Allen Canyon Creek and do a lot of volunteer work to restore these creeks.

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