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Khan Academy


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Video, 7 minutes, 17 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus



YouTube Video

Are Southern Hemisphere Seasons More Severe?

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  • This video explains how the oceans act as a moderator to prevent more severe seasonal temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere, even though it's closer to the sun in the summer and further from the sun in the winter.
  • Students will learn about the seasons, the eccentricity of Earth's orbit, the specific heat of water, and the reason why Antarctica is colder than the Arctic.
  • An interactive quiz is available for students to check their understanding of the seasons.
Teaching Tips


  • This resource provides a detailed explanation of this topic and the interactive quiz can be linked to Google Classroom if the teacher signs up for a free account.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This resource is part of a series on Earth's systems in the AP/College Environmental science course by Khan Academy.
  • The resource does not require a login to view the video, but if students want to leave comments, they will need to sign up.
  • Students should already be familiar with the Earth's tilt and have basic knowledge of the seasons.


  • This resource could be used in an Earth science or environmental science course when learning about Earth's orbit or the seasons.
  • The topic can relate to climate change by drawing connections to extreme weather and shifting seasons.
  • The video briefly touches on the concepts of specific heat and heat capacity, which could connect this video to a chemistry, physics, or physical science course.
  • Other resources related to seasons include Earth's SeasonsEarth's Rotation & Revolution, and Effect of Latitude on Climate.
Scientist Notes
During the Southern Hemisphere's summer, the Earth is closer to the Sun. A common and understandable misconception is that the Southern Hemisphere's seasons would therefore be more extreme. However, because the Southern Hemisphere is 81% ocean, and with water needing more energy to heat than land, the seasons there are not more extreme. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-6. Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.
      • HS-ESS2-4. Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.
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