Climate is the temperature, precipitation, and other weather conditions of a certain area.
Weather describes the day to day changes in temperature, wind and precipitation.
Lots of factors affect the climate of the different areas around the world, like altitude, aspect, distance from the sea, latitude, ocean currents and the prevailing winds.
The prevailing (most common) wind in the United Kingdom comes form the South West.
Climate Graphs are very good at comparing the annual temperature and rainfall of places around the world. Plot the rainfall as a blue bar chart and the temperature as a red line graph.
Types of rainfall
There are three common types of rainfall, all of which occur in the United Kingdom. All have the common theme of air being forced to rise.
Convectional rainfall occurs when the warm land surface heats the air above it, causing it to rise, cool and condense.
Frontal rainfall occurs when two air masses meet, with the warmer air being forced to rise over the cooler air. The rising air cools and condenses.
Relief rainfall occurs when moist air reaches the coast and is forced to rise over mountains and hills. The rising air cools and condenses.
The United Kingdom has a temperate maritime climate. Relatively cool summers and mild winters. The prevailing winds in the United Kingdom come from the South West.
Temperatures in the United Kingdom are dictated by latitude, particularly in the summer. Although the prevailing wind is from the South West, there are four other directions from which air does travel to Britain, bringing differing climatic characteristics.
Depressions are areas of low pressure that bring clouds and rain to the United Kingdom. They originate over the Atlantic.
Anticyclones are areas of high pressure. They bring warm, stable conditions, with clear skies and lots of sunshine.
Impact of weather on us
Don't tend experience extreme weather too often. Droughts are times when there has been below average rainfall for a period of time, causing water supplies to dry up and run out. In some less developed countries the threat of drought is a very dangerous one, that could result in millions of people starving to death.
Fog can cause great problems when it occurs in the United Kingdom.
Tropical storms are known as hurricanes, cyclones, typhoons, and willy willies. They are very intense areas of very low pressure which produce very strong winds, torrential rain and storm surges. (Example: Hurricane Floyd (USA))
Sulphur dioxides and nitrogen oxides emitted from power stations are carried by the wind. This falls as acid rain. Lakes and rivers have been contaminated killing fish and plant life.
The release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere allows the radiation from the sun to enter the atmosphere but then does not allow enough of it to leave, causing the atmosphere to heat up. This is called Global Warming.
Ozone is the gas in the atmosphere that prevents harmful ultra-violet rays from affecting us. Holes in the ozone layer have been found over both Poles. The primary effects to humans are the increased danger of skin cancer, and a possible reduction in immunity from disease.