Factors influencing the UK's climate

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Air masses

An air mass is a body of air that has similar temperature and humidity levels over a period of several days

When an air mass moves it takes the temperature and humidity levels with it but it will be changed slightly by the surface it travels over 

For much of the year Polar Maritime and Tropical maritime air masses (which meet along the polar front) lead to the creation of depressions 

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Global position of the UK

The UK lies between warm tropical air to the south and cold polar air to the North.

These different types of air mass over mid latitudes cause changable weather conditions 

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Seasonal changes in global pressure patterns

Pressure belts of the world are not fixed in place 

With the ITCZ pressure belts shift N and S

In summer the subartic low pressure belt tends to be North of the British isles which leads to high pressure and settled conditions in the South (vice versa in the winter causing unsettled weather)

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Seasonal variations

Seasonal shifts in weather:

  • During Summer sun is high in the sky making high day time temperatures a possibility as the sun is striking the UK nearly head on
  • During Winter the days are shorter and the angle of the sun is lower so less heat means lower temperatures 
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Influence of Land and Sea

  • Moisture from the sea leads to humid conditions and explains why UK is often cloudy and wet
  • The sea takes longer to heat up and cool down than land which moderates the UK's climate majing temperatures more even throughout the year
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Ocean Currents

Warm North Atlantic drift impacts the Uk's climate as it carries warm water from South atlantic to warm up western shores of Uk and the air it contacts

Prevailing SW winds spread warm conditions giving western parts of the UK mild winters 

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Warm moist air is forced up and over mountainous areas which quickly cools, which brings clouds and precipitation. 

This creates a rain shadow in the East 

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