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Southern Hemisphere: Map

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Earth's southern hemisphere highlighted in yellow (Antarctica not depicted).


The Southern Hemisphere is the half of a planet that is south of the equator—the word hemisphere (from the Greek word σφαιρα (sphere)+ημι(half)) literally means 'half ball'. It is also that half of the celestial sphere south of the celestial equator.

Earth's southern hemisphere contains all or parts of four continents (Antarcticamarker, Australiamarker, parts of America/South America and parts of Africa), four oceans (South Atlanticmarker, Indianmarker, South Pacificmarker, and Southernmarker) and most of Oceania. Several islands off the Asian continental mainland are also in the Southern Hemisphere. Due to the tilt of Earth's rotation relative to the Sun and the ecliptic plane, summer is December 21 to March 21 and winter is June 21 to September 21. September 22 is the vernal equinox and March 21 is the autumnal equinox.

Geography

Climates in the southern hemisphere overall tend to be slightly milder than those in the Northern Hemispheremarker except in the Antarcticmarker which is colder than the Arctic. This is because the southern hemisphere has significantly more ocean and less land. Water heats up and cools down more slowly than land. The southern hemisphere is also significantly less polluted than the northern hemisphere because of lower overall population densities (a total of 10 to 12% of the human population), lower levels of industrialisation, and smaller land masses. (Air currents run mostly west–east so pollution does not easily spread north or south.)In the southern hemisphere the sun passes from east to west through the north, although north of the Tropic of Capricornmarker the mean sun can be directly overhead or due south at midday. The sun rotating through the north causes an apparent right-left trajectory through the sky unlike the left-right motion of the sun when seen from the northern hemisphere as it passes through the southern sky. Sun-cast shadows turn anticlockwise through the day (sundials have the hours in reverse). Hurricanes and tropical storms spin clockwise in the southern hemisphere (as opposed to anticlockwise in the Northern Hemispheremarker) due to the Coriolis effect.

The southern temperate zone, a subsection of the southern hemisphere, is nearly all oceanic. The only countries that lie entirely within this zone are Uruguaymarker, Lesothomarker, Swazilandmarker and New Zealandmarker. Countries lying partly in the zone are Chilemarker (most of), Argentinamarker (most of), Paraguaymarker, Brazilmarker, Namibiamarker, Botswanamarker, South Africa (most of), Mozambiquemarker, Madagascarmarker and Australia.

The South Polemarker is oriented towards the galactic centre and this, combined with clearer skies, makes for excellent viewing of the night sky from the southern hemisphere with brighter and more numerous stars.

Forests in the southern hemisphere have special features which set them aside from the northern hemisphere. Both Chile and New Zealand share, for example, unique beech species or Nothofagus. The eucalyptus is native to Australia but has now gone on to be planted in southern Africa and Latin America for pulp production and, increasingly, biofuel uses.

List of continents and countries

Continents



African countries

Entirely
Mostly
Partly


Asian countries

Note: The parts of these countries that are in the Southern Hemisphere are not part of the Asian continental mainland.

Entirely
Mostly
Partly


Oceania countries

Entirely
Mostly


South American countries

Entirely
Mostly
Partly


Other territories


centre
centre


See also



References

  1. Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary (based on Collegiate vol., 11th ed.) 2006. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.



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