If the Earth's axis were tilted at 40° to the plane of the ecliptic instead of 23½°, what would be the effects of this change on (1) global climate and seasons (2) seasons and climate of India?

Seasons and length of day and night on earth are determined by tilt of earth’s axis wrt ecliptic plane, rotation around the axis and revolution on an elliptical path around sun.
If Earth’s axis is tilted at 40o the impact on global climate and seasons would be:

  • Area under tropical climate would increase, the temperate regions would reduce. Torrid zone would increase to 40oN and 40oS from equator.
  • Wind pattern and pressure belts would shift bringing about climatic changes currently experienced by different regions
  • Lead to increase in monsoonal characteristics with larger differential heating of land and water.
  • Though the seasons would not change much but severity of seasons would increase. World would experience extreme seasons with very hot summers and extremely cold winter
  • Length of Winter nights and Summer days would increase in Mid-latitudes.
  • Ice caps in polar regions might disappear and polar regions would witness vegetation

On climate and seasons of India:
As with global climate, India would also experience extreme climatic conditions. Most of northern states would witness snowfall in winter while in summer regions even beyond tropic of cancer would experience direct sunrays. Southern states would experience harsher winters and even harsher summers. India would experience more rainfall due to high temperature differential across land and southern Indian Ocean. Hot summers would lead to melting of glaciers in Himalayas would lead to flooding.

Question for UPSC Mains:
If the Earth's axis were tilted at 40° to the plane of the ecliptic instead of 23½°, what would be the effects of this change on (1) global climate and seasons (2) seasons and climate of India?

Published: September 19, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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