All Subjects



AP Enviro



Unit 4

4.7 Solar Radiation and Earth's Seasons

2 min readmay 1, 2020

Cody Williams

Solar radiation is important because it is the main source of energy for the planet. The amount of energy a location receives is based on season and latitude.

During different seasons, we see variations in the length of daylight and angle of the sun. For example, during the summer, the time of the day spent in daylight is greater and the angle of the sun is at a greater angle. This causes more solar radiation to reach that location. The opposite is true during the winter months.

Another important factor in the amount of solar radiation a location gets is its latitude. At the equator, or 0° latitude, solar radiation hits the surface straight on, so they get more solar radiation per unit of area. However, at higher and lower latitudes, the earth is curved, so the same amount of solar radiation is spread over an area.


Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

Seasons and Earth’s Tilt

Seasons are also largely impacted by the earth’s tilt and rotation around the sun. During certain points of rotation around the sun, the northern or southern hemisphere may lean towards or away from the sun, or the might face away or toward the sun.

For example, during summer in the northern hemisphere, the earth is leaning towards the sun. During winter in the northern hemisphere, the hemisphere is leaning away from the sun. Spring and fall happen between these points of earth’s rotation around the sun.

🎥 Watch: AP Environmental Science - Earths Seasons and Climate


Was this guide helpful?

Join us on Discord

Thousands of students are studying with us for the AP Environmental Science exam.

join now

Browse Study Guides By Unit

Free Response Questions (FRQs)

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

Unit 1: The Living World: Ecosystems

Unit 2: The Living World: Biodiversity

Unit 3: Populations

Unit 5: Land and Water Use

Unit 6: Energy Resources and Consumption

Unit 7: Atmospheric Pollution

Unit 8: Aquatic and Terrestrial Pollution

Unit 9: Global Change

Play this on HyperTyper

Practice your typing skills while reading Solar Radiation and Earth's Seasons

Start Game