Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Weather Watching

Understanding the British and their preoccupation with the weather is hard to comprehend for visitors from other countries. If you ask most people, their anecdotal evidence would be that weekends are always wet!

Now that there has been some research done and there is some evidence of weekends having more rain fall than weekdays. However the study was in North America. We need to get a research project funded for the UK. 

Essentially in the UK it depends if you are in a wet or dry area. Where local rainfall norms are either high or low. As Basil Fawlty said about Sybil. "She has a degree in stating the bleeding obvious. If you are in a significant rainfall area, where it rains a great deal. It tends to rain more at weekends. Or alternatively if you are in a dry area where precipitation is low, weekend can tend to be quite dry.

In Great Britain because the prevailing wind is from the south east. Therefore the south west and the west coast should be the wet area. The north east and the east coast should be the dry area. (Lancashire I know is a wetter region than Yorkshire which somehow seems fair!) Other factors come into play including the Gulf Stream which tends to keep our country warmer in the winter months.

Our position in the world, being located in the geographic mid-latitudes between 50 and 60 degrees north from the equator has a significant influence upon our weather. Regional climates in the United Kingdom are influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf Stream and Polar Regions. 

The western parts of England and Scotland tend to be the mildest, wettest and windiest regions of the UK. Whilst the eastern areas are drier, cooler and less windy. 

  • When the weather arrives from the north, then northern Ireland and the west of Scotland are the most exposed to the polar air mass which brings cool moist air.
  • The east of Scotland and north-east England are more exposed to the continental polar air mass which brings cold dry air.
  • The south and south-east of England are more exposed to the continental tropical air mass which brings warm dry air. 
  • Wales and the south-west of England are the most exposed to the maritime tropical air mass which brings warm moist air. 

Spring from March to May. Spring is generally a calm, cool and dry season because the Atlantic has lost much of its heat throughout the autumn and winter. 

Summer lasts from June to August and is the warmest season. Rainfall totals can have a wide local variation due to localised thunderstorms. These thunderstorms mainly occur in southern, eastern, and central England. 

Autumn lasts from September to November. The season is being unsettled—as cool polar air moves southwards  This combined with the warm ocean due to heating throughout the spring and summer, produces the unsettled weather of autumn. 

Winter in the UK is from December to February. The season is generally cool, wet and windy. Precipitation is plentiful throughout the season, though snow is quite rare. The early part of winter however is often unsettled and stormy; often the wettest and windiest time of the year.

However in the autumn, we sometimes experiences an 'Indian Summer' where temperatures can be very mild. Such events are aided by the surrounding Atlantic Ocean and seas being at their warmest, keeping the country in warm air, despite the short hours of sunlight. 

There is an old anecdote about the British Weather "If you don't like our weather - come back in an hour we will have something different for you."


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please put your name to your comment. Comments without a name may automatically be treated as spam and might not be included.

If you do not wish your comment to be published say so in your comment. If you have a tip or sensitive information you’d prefer to share anonymously, you may do so. I will delete the comment after reading.