TEMP 19.1°C Ι DEW POINT 17.4°C Ι FEELS LIKE 20.0°C Ι HUMIDITY 90% Ι PRESSURE 998.7mb Ι WIND 5.4mph 180° S
  Station Model
South Tyne Weather
Weather Explained
Share
grey
Published on: January 31, 2012, by: STW Editor

What shapes our weather?

Britain is an Island, and as such we are obviously surrounded by water, which massively influences our weather.

Northern Ireland, Wales and western areas are generally milder and wetter than other parts of the country, and are also generally windier. The weather in these parts of the Uk is mostly down to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean. In the east however, the weather is usually drier and colder than in the west, and here in the North East our weather is shaped by the continental polar air mass.  Generally speaking, the South East of England is thought to have the best summers of anywhere in the UK, while the North of Scotland  generally experience the colder weather.

One of the biggest influences to us is the North Atlantic Ocean, which carries warm water from the Gulf of mexico to us.  Without this warming effect our climate could be as much as 10°C colder than what we get now.  Because of our high latitude, and closeness to the Atlantic, we often suffer with high winds, especially in western parts.  Rainfall can vary greatly in the Uk, The mountains of Wales, Scotland, the Pennines in the North of England,  and the moors of the South West are the wettest parts of the country.  Most of the rain we experience comes from North Atlantic depressions, which are often more common in autumn and winter.

Temperature wise, the United Kingdom tends to have cool to mild winters and warm summers with moderate variation in temperature throughout the year, although there can be massive bucks to this trend, recently we have experienced 2 extremely cold winters, with heavy snowfall and very low temperatures.  Generally speaking we don’t have massivly cold winters, in fact winter so far in 2011/2012 has been exceptionally mild, much to a lot of cold lovers’ disappointment.

While the United Kingdom is not particularly noted for extreme weather, it does occur, and conditions have been known to reach extreme levels on occasions. In the winter of 1982, for a few days parts of central and southern England experienced temperatures lower than Moscow, and the summers of 1975 and 1976 experienced temperatures as high as 35°C (°F). It was so dry the country suffered drought and water shortages.

Extended periods of extreme weather, such as the drought of 1975–1976 and the very cold winters of 1946–1947, 1962–1963, 1978–79, 1981–1982, 2009–2010 and 2010–2011, are often caused by blocking anti-cyclones which can persist several days or even weeks. In winter they can bring long periods of cold dry weather and in summer long periods of hot dry weather.

Jet Stream

The jet stream is a much talked about thing, but not many people actually know what it is, or what it does.  A jet stream forms high in the upper troposphere between two air masses of very different temperature. The greater the temperature difference between the air masses, the faster the wind blows in the jet stream.

This river of air has wind speeds which often exceed 100 mph, and sometimes peak over 200 mph. Jet streams usually form in the winter, when there is a greater contrast in temperature between cold continental air masses and warm oceanic air masses.  During the winter months, Arctic and tropical air masses create a stronger surface temperature contrast resulting in a strong jet stream. However, during the summer months, when the surface temperature variation is less dramatic, the winds of the jet are weaker. In summer, if the jet stream is to the north of us, we would generally have a warmer, dryer summer, whereas if the jet stream is to the south of us, summers are usually wetter and cooler.In winter, a more southerly jet stream leaves us open to cold conditions to the north and east. Normally the jet stream in winter ensures generally mild, and at times wet and windy weather across our shores.

Volcanic Effects

Although our weather is defined by what goes on above ground, it can on occasion be changed by volcanic eruptions.  For example, a volcanic explosion can lower global temperatures.  One instance of this is the eruption of Mt Laki in 1783.  The eastern U.S. recorded the lowest-ever winter average temperature in 1783-84, about 4.8OC below the 225-year average. Europe also experienced an abnormally severe winter. Benjamin Franklin suggested that these cold conditions resulted from the blocking out of sunlight by dust and gases created by the Iceland Laki eruption in 1783. The Laki eruption was the largest outpouring of basalt lava in historic times. Franklin’s hypothesis is consistent with modern scientific theory, which suggests that large volumes of SO2 are the main culprit in haze-effect global cooling.  Another example of this is the Krakatoa eruption in 1883 — the erruption of the Indonesian volcano August 1883 generated twenty times the volume of tephra released by the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Krakatau was the second largest eruption in history, dwarfed only by the eruption of neighboring Tambora in 1815. For months after the Krakatau eruption, the world experienced unseasonably cool weather, brilliant sunsets, and prolonged twilights due to the spread of aerosols throughout the stratosphere. The brilliant sunsets are typical of atmospheric haze. The unusual and prolonged sunsets generated considerable contemporary debate on their origin.They also provided inspiration for artists who dipicted the vibrant nature of the sunsets in several late 19th-century paintings, two of which are noted here.  More recently, Mt. Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines on June 15, 1991, and one month later Mt. Hudson in southern Chile also erupted. The Pinatubo eruption produced the largest sulfur oxide cloud this century. The combined aerosol plume of Mt. Pinatubo and Mt. Hudson diffused around the globe in a matter of months. The data collected after these eruptions show that mean world temperatures decreased by about 1 degree Centigrade over the subsequent two years. This cooling effect was welcomed by many scientists who saw it as a counter-balance to global warming

comments powered by Disqus
More articles from around the site:
More Weather Explained   More World Weather   More Geology
pic
blank
Thunder and Lightning
blank
Some people say that they can tell when a storm is coming.
 
pic
blank
Hurricanes
blank
Hurricanes, cyclones, tropical storms, typhoons....these are all the same thing, but are named differently depending where on earth they are formed.
 
pic
blank
Earthquakes
blank
An earthquake can be one of the most catastrophic events to strike, whether it be inland or out at sea.
3 Day Forecast
UK Weather Images
View a variety of weather images and data courtesy of Meteorologica
UK Weather Images
more...
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Contact Us
Powered by Disqus
Contact Us
Any questions or comments? Feel free to get in touch