Today and tomorrow we at a point in the calendar year called the “Perihelion”. This is the point where the Earth is closet to the Sun, a mere 91.5 million miles away (just across the street in space terms). Interestingly, in July, when we’re baking in summer-time heat, the Earth is actually at its farthest point away from the Sun (called the “Aphelion”).
Now you’re probably saying to yourself, “Self, how can that be? It’s winter in January and hot in July!” Remember that the Earth doesn’t sit straight up and down, in fact its axis is tilted at a 23.5 degree angle. So even though we’re closest to the Sun in winter, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun. And then vice versa in the summer. So it doesn’t matter that we’re so far away, the angle of the UV rays hitting the planet is more direct (closer to 90 deg.) than in the winter. Here’s a good visual of the oval-like orbit that creates these anomalies:
Now once the Earth starts to shift on its axis, which it does every 11,000 years or so, we’ve got something …
Chief Meteorologist Justin Stapleton