Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.
What Causes Summer?
What is your favorite season? If you like warm weather, swimming and being off from school, your favorite season is probably summer! Just like the other three seasons, summer is caused by the tilt in the Earth's axis. It is summer when the sun's rays hit that part of the Earth more directly than any other season. In the United States, as well as the other countries in the Northern Hemisphere, summer begins in June because that is when the sun's rays are the most direct. In countries in the Southern Hemisphere, like Australia, summer begins in December. Think about it like this - let's say you and your friends are sitting around a bonfire. If you are sitting closer to the bonfire than your friends, you will feel more heat than they will because you are being hit more directly by the heat source than your friends.
The first official day of summer is called summer solstice. In the Northern Hemisphere, summer solstice falls between June 20 and 22. It is the longest day of the year, so plan to play outside for as long as you can! While there is a short period of time where the days and nights are almost equal in length, the days become longer and the nights become shorter during the summertime. This change is more extreme in areas that are further from the equator (an imaginary line drawn around the earth), like New York City.
Put away your winter coats and break out the shorts, sunglasses and swimsuits! Depending on where you live, the weather will be a little different in the summertime, but it will mostly be pretty hot. Typically, the closer you are to the equator, the warmer your summer will be. In fact, states that are closer to the equator can have weather that feels like summer all year round! Why else would so many people want to retire in Florida? The average temperature in the summer in the United States is about 72°F, with a high average of 81 °F in Texas to a low average of 52 °F in Alaska. If you are planning to go on a summer vacation in Alaska, you can leave your sunscreen behind!
Plants and Animals in the Summer
The summer has an effect on plants and animals in many ways. Since there is more sunlight than other seasons, most plants will grow to their fullest potential. Tree branches will be full of green leaves because of the increase in sunlight. Some plants will die of heat, especially if they are in an area that experiences little to no rainfall. The increase in sunlight and heat has an effect on animals, as well. Animals will grow stronger because food is easier to find. Some animals will take time to cool off during the summer, like elephants that will cool off in a stream.
Summer is caused by the tilt in the Earth's axis, beginning with summer solstice. Days are longer, nights are shorter; weather is warmer, plants and animals change. If you are searching for a super hot summer, plan your next vacation to get as close to the equator as you can!
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