Climate and Weather

What is a hemisphere?
Answered by Planet Green
  • Planet Green

    Planet Green

  1. A sphere is essentially a circle. When a sphere is broken into two halves of equal size, the halves are called hemispheres. Though any circle can be divided equally along an infinite amount of planes, the Earth is generally divided into four hemispheres. The equator, located at 0 degrees latitude, divides the Northern Hemisphere from the Southern Hemisphere. The longitudes at 0 degrees (prime meridian) and 180 degrees (the international date line) technically separate the Western and Eastern hemispheres, but in common usage the Western Hemisphere references only the American continents.

    It should come as no surprise that the lines dividing the hemispheres give some of the world's countries dual citizenship, as it were, in more than one hemisphere. For example, the longitudinal line at 0 degrees puts eight countries in both the eastern and western hemispheres. Those countries include places such as France, the United Kingdom, Spain and Ghana. Meanwhile, the longitudinal line at 180 degrees, on the other side of the globe, gives four countries such double identities, including Russia and the United States [source: World Atlas]. The equator, creating the northern and southern hemispheres, slices through a few countries of its own. Countries that sit right on the equator and therefore belong to both the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere include South American giant Brazil, Africa's Democratic Republic of Congo and the island nation of Indonesia [source: World Atlas].

    The northern and southern hemispheres, speaking of identities, have their own distinct ideas about the seasons. Thanks to the tilt angle of the Earth relative to its yearly rotation around the sun, the seasons are flipped between the hemispheres. When it's summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it's winter in the Southern Hemisphere, and when they're enjoying summer in Sao Paulo, Brazil, they're shoveling mountains of snow in Minnesota

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