Northern Hemisphere


Northern Hemisphere

Coordinates: 45°0′0″N 0°0′0″E / 45°N 0°E / 45; 0

Northern hemisphere highlighted in yellow.
Northern hemisphere from above the North Pole.

The Northern Hemisphere[1] is the half of a planet that is north of its equator—the word hemisphere literally means “half sphere”. It is also that half of the celestial sphere north of the celestial equator. Earth's northern hemisphere contains most of the planet's land, and roughly 90% of its human population. See also Arctic, Temperate zone, Tropics, Seasons and Climate

Due to the Earth's axial tilt, winter lasts from the winter solstice (typically December 22) to the vernal equinox (typically March 20), while summer lasts from the summer solstice (typically June 21) through to the autumnal equinox (typically September 21).

The Arctic is the region north of the Arctic Circle. Its climate is characterized by cold winters and cool summers. Precipitation mostly comes in the form of snow. The Arctic experiences some days in summer on which the sun never sets, and some days in winter on which the sun never rises. The duration of these phases varies from one day for places right on the Arctic Circle to several months near the North Pole itself.

Between the Arctic Circle and the Tropic of Cancer lies the Northern Temperate Zone. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally mild, rather than extreme hot or cold. However, a temperate climate can have very unpredictable weather.

Tropical regions (between the Tropic of Cancer and the equator) are generally hot all year round and tend to experience a rainy season during the 'summer' months, and a dry season during the 'winter' months.

In the Northern Hemisphere, objects moving across or above the surface of the Earth tend to turn to the right because of the coriolis effect. As a result, large-scale horizontal flows of air or water tend to form clockwise-turning gyres north of the equator. These are best seen in ocean circulation patterns in the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans. South of the equator, the directions are reversed.

For the same reason, flows of air down toward the northern surface of the Earth tend to spread across the surface in a clockwise pattern. Thus, clockwise air circulation is characteristic of high pressure weather cells in the northern hemisphere. Conversely, air rising from the northern surface of the Earth (creating a region of low pressure) tends to draw air toward it in a counterclockwise pattern. Hurricanes and tropical storms (massive low-pressure systems) spin anti-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere (by contrast, they spin clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere).

The shadow of a sun dial moves clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere (opposite of the Southern Hemisphere). During the day, the sun tends to raise to its maximum at a southerly position, whereas in the Southern Hemisphere it raises to a maximum that is northerly in position (as it tends towards the direction of the equator). In both hemispheres, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

Also, the Moon appears "upside down" compared to a view from the Southern Hemisphere and the view of the stars is much different. The North Pole faces away from the galactic centre of the Milky Way; this results in there being far fewer and less bright visible stars in the northern hemisphere compared to the Southern Hemisphere, making the Northern Hemisphere more suitable for deep-space observation, as it is not 'blinded' by the Milky Way.

Contents

List of continents and countries

Continents found in the Northern Hemisphere

See also

References

  1. ^ Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary (based on Collegiate vol., 11th ed.) 2006. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • northern hemisphere — n Northern Hemisphere the northern hemisphere the half of the world that is north of the Equator …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Northern Hemisphere — that half of the earth north of the equator …   English World dictionary

  • Northern Hemisphere — noun The hemisphere of the Earth (or any celestial body) to the north of its equator. Ant: Southern Hemisphere …   Wiktionary

  • northern hemisphere — noun the hemisphere that is to the north of the equator • Instance Hypernyms: ↑hemisphere • Part Meronyms: ↑Eurasia, ↑Laurasia, ↑North America …   Useful english dictionary

  • northern hemisphere — n. hemisphere north of the equator …   English contemporary dictionary

  • northern hemisphere — noun Usage: often capitalized N&H Date: circa 1699 the half of the earth that lies north of the equator …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Northern Hemisphere — the half of the earth between the North Pole and the equator. [1885 90] * * * …   Universalium

  • northern hemisphere — noun (singular) the half of the world that is north of the equator …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • Northern Hemisphere — North′ern Hem′isphere n. geg geo the half of the earth between the North Pole and the equator • Etymology: 1885–90 …   From formal English to slang

  • Northern Hemisphere — /nɔðən ˈhɛməsfɪə / (say nawdhuhn hemuhsfear) noun (also lower case) 1. the half of the earth between the North Pole and the equator. 2. Astronomy the half of the celestial sphere north of the celestial equator …   Australian English dictionary


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