Earth Orbit and Climate
Location: Outside U.S.
Country: New Zealand
I notice that the ice cover has been slightly above normal
for the Southern hemisphere and below normal for the Northern
hemisphere for the last few years. To what extent does the 3% closer
approach to the Sun in the slightly distorted orbit of the Earth
around the Sun affect this? ie 7 July 2010 the Earth was furthest
away from the Sun corresponding to Southern hemisphere winter and
Northern Hemisphere Summer. Surely the close approach coming up
would be expected to shorten the Northern Hemisphere winter and make
the Southern Hemisphere warmer in their summer.
Attributing the "average" temperature of any point on Earth's
surface to the Earth / Solar distance involves a giant leap of faith. There
are many factors that come into play determining Earth's temperature.
Solar distance is only one, and possibly not even the most important factor.
For example, "At what altitude is the temperature measured?" Is the
temperature measured "at night" or "during the day"? What part does
precipitation play? The list of possibly confounding factors is long, and
complicate one another. What role does Solar activity play on a given day /
week / or month? A "simple cause and effect" on any particular relationship
is risky, at best, and likely misleading.
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Update: June 2012