When I hear anyone talk about a specific Chinese martial art, it falls into either a Northern Chinese or Southern Chinese style. I have learned that the general differences between the Northern and Southern styles is that Northern styles have more legwork, acrobatics, and jumping moves. Contrastly, Southern Chinese kung fu systems focus more on short moves and stable stances.
If Chinese martial arts fall into either of these categories, what is the explanation for it? Since the divide is geographical, are the development of Chinese kung fu systems related to regional, environmental factors? What are the historical roots that would also influence the development of these two general categories of Northern versus Southern?