AP Environmental Science : Seasons

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Environmental Science

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Seasons

The seasons experienced on Earth are caused by __________.

Possible Answers:

The varying temperature of the sun during different times of year

The proximity of the Earth to certain star clusters at moments during the Earth's orbit around the sun

Geothermal energy on a biological clock

The  tilt of the Earth's axis

The elliptical shape of Earth's orbit around the sun

Correct answer:

The  tilt of the Earth's axis

Explanation:

Contrary to what many people think, the seasons are caused by the amount of light that the surface of each hemisphere of Earth receives during different parts the year. Because of the tilt of the Earth's axis and its rotation, certain months of the year result in more direct sunlight, but not necessarily because they are closer to the sun. The Northern hemisphere receives less sunlight during some months when the Earth's axis is tilted away from the sun; the resulting season is winter. Each ray of sunlight is spread out over more distance at the poles, whereas the warmest areas (at the equator) get the most direct sunlight. When Earth's axis is pointed towards the sun, the resulting season is summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

Example Question #1 : Seasons

Ecosystems experience seasonality differences throughout the year. Some regions experience four seasons, while others only experience two season. Why do we experience seasons on Earth?

Possible Answers:

tilt of the Earth

gravitational pull of the moon

global climate change

gravitational pull of the Sun

Correct answer:

tilt of the Earth

Explanation:

The correct response is tilt of the Earth. The Earth is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees. This tilt allows seasonal differences to exist on the Earth since each region is pointing towards the Sun at different angles throughout the year. 

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