Southern Hemisphere

The Southern Hemisphere from above the South Pole
The Southern Hemisphere highlighted in yellow. The hemispheres appear to be unequal in this image due to Antarctica not being shown, but in reality are the same size.

The Southern Hemisphere is the half of Earth that is south of the Equator. It contains all or parts of five continents[1] (Antarctica, Australia, about 90% of South America, the southern third of Africa, and several southern islands off the continental mainland of Asia), four oceans (Indian, South Atlantic, Southern, and South Pacific) and most of the Pacific Islands in Oceania. Its surface is 80.9% water, compared with 60.7% water in the case of the Northern Hemisphere, and it contains 32.7% of Earth's land.[2]

Owing to the tilt of Earth's rotation relative to the Sun and the ecliptic plane, summer is from December to March and winter is from June to September. September 22 or 23 is the vernal equinox and March 20 or 21 is the autumnal equinox. The South Pole is in the center of the southern hemispherical region.


Southern Hemisphere climates tend to be slightly milder than those at similar latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, except in the Antarctic which is colder than the Arctic. This is because the Southern Hemisphere has significantly more ocean and much less land; water heats up and cools down more slowly than land.[citation needed] The differences are also attributed to oceanic heat transfer (OHT) and differing extents of greenhouse trapping.[3]

Aurora australis appearing in the night sky of Swifts Creek, 100 km (62 mi) north of Lakes Entrance, Victoria, Australia
Aurora australis appearing from Stewart Island / Rakiura in the south of New Zealand

In the Southern Hemisphere the sun passes from east to west through the north, although north of the Tropic of Capricorn 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 throughout the day and sundials have the hours increasing in the anticlockwise direction. During solar eclipses viewed from a point to the south of the Tropic of Capricorn, the Moon moves from left to right on the disc of the Sun (see, for example, photos with timings of the solar eclipse of November 13, 2012), while viewed from a point to the north of the Tropic of Cancer (i.e., in the Northern Hemisphere), the Moon moves from right to left during solar eclipses.

Cyclones and tropical storms spin clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere (as opposed to anticlockwise in the Northern Hemisphere) due to the Coriolis effect.[4]

The southern temperate zone, a subsection of the Southern Hemisphere, is nearly all oceanic. This zone includes the southern tip of Uruguay and South Africa; the southern half of Chile and Argentina; parts of Australia, going south from Adelaide, and all of New Zealand.

The Sagittarius constellation that includes the galactic centre is a southern constellation 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 apart from those in the Northern Hemisphere. Both Chile and Australia share, for example, unique beech species or Nothofagus, and New Zealand has members of the closely related genera Lophozonia and Fuscospora. The eucalyptus is native to Australia but is now also planted in Southern Africa and Latin America for pulp production and, increasingly, biofuel uses.

Other Languages
asturianu: Hemisferiu Sur
azərbaycanca: Cənub yarımkürəsi
Bân-lâm-gú: Lâm-poàn-kiû
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Паўднёвае паўшар’е
български: Южно полукълбо
brezhoneg: Hantervoul su
català: Hemisferi sud
Deutsch: Südhalbkugel
español: Hemisferio sur
Esperanto: Suda duonglobo
français: Hémisphère sud
한국어: 남반구
hrvatski: Južna polutka
Bahasa Indonesia: Belahan Bumi Selatan
íslenska: Suðurhvel
къарачай-малкъар: Къыбыла джарымтоб
latviešu: Dienvidu puslode
Lëtzebuergesch: Südhallefkugel
македонски: Јужна полутопка
Bahasa Melayu: Hemisfera Selatan
Nederlands: Zuidelijk halfrond
Nedersaksies: Zujelik halfroend
日本語: 南半球
norsk nynorsk: Den sørlege halvkula
occitan: Emisfèri sud
português: Hemisfério sul
русиньскый: Южна півкуля
Simple English: Southern hemisphere
slovenčina: Južná pologuľa
slovenščina: Južna polobla
српски / srpski: Јужна хемисфера
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Južna hemisfera
Basa Sunda: Lebahan kidul
татарча/tatarça: Көньяк ярымшар
українська: Південна півкуля
Tiếng Việt: Nam Bán cầu
吴语: 南半球
粵語: 南半球
中文: 南半球