This is going to get a bit deep, so bear with me.
When we look at camera manufacturers, they are all in the Northern hemisphere. When their programmers sit in the offices and use the algorithms to create the software to install in your camera, they use benchmarks. Most of these benchmarks relate to light and the quality of it, as photography is all about capturing light. So chances are that the algorithms used are taken from data obtained in the northern hemisphere.
Is this data relevant to the southern hemisphere? If not, then should we not be using auto mode in Australia (and other countries south of the equator)?
A study done in 2002 found that there was around a 5% discrepancy in the light quality between the hemispheres. Mostly this discrepancy related to the amount of pollution surrounding the more densely populated northern hemisphere.
There is also a significant difference in IR (infra red) light between the hemispheres. In the northern hemisphere the boundary for IR light is between 88 and 89 kelvin, in the southern Hemisphere it is around 91 kelvin. The hole that appears in the ozone layer over Antarctica each year also impacts this, when it is estimated that a variation of up to 15% can occur in the amount of UV light hitting the surface of the Earth around the ozone hole impact area.
Now if the camera manufacturers are programming our cameras using the same algorithms that they use for the northern hemisphere, based on data collected in the northern hemisphere. there is a good chance that Auto-Mode is not going to be as accurate in Australia as it would be say in the USA.
Food for thought, should we not be using Auto-Mode, based on living in Australia?