Solar Distance and Weather
What is the distance of earth from sun in different months
of the year? What effects does this distance make on our weather?
There is a distance calculator at
where you determine the distance of the Earth from the Sun any
day of the year, in astronomical units (AU). An AU is equivalent
to the average Earth-Sun distance, approximately 93 million miles
(almost 150 million km).
The Earth to Sun distance is about 91 million miles during
the Northern Hemisphere winter and 94.5 million miles during
Northern Hemisphere summer, averaging out to about 93 million
The distance from the Sun does affect the weather and climate
very minimally (the greater the distance from the Sun, the
less radiation falls on the Earth, leading to very slightly
lower temperatures), but almost insignificantly in comparison
to the tilt of the Earth. The Earth's tilt results in much
less radiation being received per square meter in northern
Canada than in the southern United States, for instance,
on the first day of Spring. The difference in heating
of the different latitudes of Earth is the primary driver of
Earth's weather systems; this is considerably more important
than the difference in distance of the Earth from the Sun as
it revolves about the Sun during a year.
David R. Cook
Climate Research Section
Environmental Science Division
Argonne National Laboratory
Because the orbit of Earth is not a circle, Earth is closer to the sun in
certain months of the year. In fact, Earth is closest to the sun in the
northern hemisphere' winter!
Weather and climate are affected by so many different things, it is difficult
to say just what this difference does to the weather. It does mean the
southern hemisphere is closest to the sun during its summer.
R. W. "Bob" Avakian
Oklahoma State Univ. Inst. of Technology
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Update: June 2012