General Question

vanausdr's avatar

What causes the climate to warm between winter and spring?

Asked by vanausdr (146points) March 10th, 2010

I know that the revolution of the earth and the impact of sunlight play into the seasons. But when winter is gradually being overcome by spring, that time period when it is cold some days and warm others, what largely influences the temperature throughout the day? Air masses? Available sunlight?

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21 Answers

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Trillian's avatar

Wow. I wish I had had this option when I was in school. I’d have loved to kick back and had other people do my homework.

elenuial's avatar

The earth’s axis is tilted in reference to the sun. The rest follows from that.

(If this IS homework, you’ll want to specify the rest. Also, you know, Google.)

lloydbird's avatar


CyanoticWasp's avatar

Convection and radiation, mainly. Oh, and the fact that the Earth is only 2 million miles from the Sun during the Spring, and 93 million miles away for the winter.

Trillian's avatar

Also, the canopy opens in spring and slams shut in the fall.

Ivan's avatar

Don’t forget about the giant firefly that hatches in North Dakota in the spring. That plays a big role too.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Earth flies south for the Spring and Summer. Everyone knows that. I hadn’t thought of the fire flies, too.

CMaz's avatar

Yes, Air masses.

Like when you fart in bed. Takes a while to disipate from under the sheets.

ragingloli's avatar

Deterministic particle interaction.

LostInParadise's avatar

Not sure what you are asking. Are you asking why it can be warm one day and cold the next? That would be air masses.

One thing that you might be wondering is that if the shortest day of the year is the beginning of winter then why does it keep getting colder until spring? The reason is that the Northern Hemisphere receives the least amount of solar radiation at the start of winter, but it still receives less heat during the day than it loses at night, so it continues to get colder until around the beginning of spring when the lengths of day and night are about equal.

robmandu's avatar

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, it’s counter-intuitive to find out that the earth is actually 5 million km closer to the sun in deepest winter than at the height of summer.

Folks in the southern hemisphere collectively say, “Well, duh.”

Mainly, we get seasons (and seasonal changes in temperature) due to the tilt in the earth’s axis… which explains the whole northern/southern opposite seasons thing rather neatly.

The rest of the variation is due the movement of air and water currents around the globe which transport warmer temps around the globe.

Or, as Nicholas Cage’s character Dave Spritz says in The Weather Man, “I don’t predict it. Nobody does, ‘cause i-it’s just wind. It’s wind. It blows all over the place! What the fuck!”

njnyjobs's avatar

That period is the time when the bears and other critters wake up from hibernation and start exercising and give off a lot of body heat.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@njnyjobs Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

davidbetterman's avatar

The giant firefly has not nearly the effect on the earth’s warming
as does the fire breathing dragon migration which occurs during the same time frame.

Cruiser's avatar

Santa turns up the thermostat at the North Pole in the summer so he can get some golf in up there.

YARNLADY's avatar

@davidbetterman Actually it’s pretty much a toss up between Mothra and Godzilla

Val123's avatar

It’s a constant battle between old man summer and old man winter, and it’s well documented. Google it.

SmartAZ's avatar

Duh, we have this ball of fire in the sky and it does stuff like that. I think it works by magnets or something.

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