Temperatures in Southern Hemisphere vs. Northern Hemisphere?

Ask Tom Why

Dear Tom,
Why are temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere, at locations with a similar elevation and proximity to water, not a mirror of those we experience in the Northern Hemisphere?
Tommy Salvatore, Chicago
Dear Tommy,
The amount of land, its location relative to each hemisphere’s arctic region and the extent of water coverage have profound effects on temperature distribution. These snow-covered and often sunless regions are without counterparts (except for Antarctica, which is separated from the land masses of the Southern Hemisphere by water in the south). What’s more, 81 percent of the Earth’s surface south of the Equator is water-covered versus only 61 percent north. Water moderates air temperatures, and therefore its effect in the Southern Hemisphere is greater than in the Northern Hemisphere.

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