why does it rain so much in england
Ahh, the great British weather. The subject of almost all small talk on buses, in shops, and at work в and boy do we like to complain about it. Letвs take a look at the science behind why itвs always raining in the UK, and why our weather is so unpredictableв
What causes rain? Itвs all down to the water cycle. Water evaporates from our oceans, rivers, and lakes in the form of water vapour which slowly rises into the atmosphere. At this stage, water is in its gaseous state. В This water vapour continues to rise until it reaches its dew point this is the atmospheric temperature below which condensation occurs and water droplets begin to form (dew point varies depending on pressure and humidity). At this stage, water returns to its liquid form. These tiny water droplets collect together as clouds, and eventually, some of those clouds will become too heavy to support their own weight в and this is when rain occurs.
The water cycle refers to this constant process of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation and itвs vital to all life on earth. Ocean currents are one of the most important driving forces of climate в youвll definitely have learned about this at school, and you can в itвs interesting stuff really! The Gulf Stream is just one of those ocean currents, transporting relatively warm water from the Gulf of Mexico to the British Isles. Warm water evaporates faster than cool water, and when you consider that the UK is surrounded by sea, it becomes clear why weвre particularly prone to rain The UKвs location relative to ocean currents is also why our weather is so unpredictable в cold polar air from the north combined warmer tropic air causes our weather to fluctuate daily, sometimes even hourly!
The Gulf Stream, combined with North Atlantic Drift, also gives the UK fairly mild winters. Considering the latitude of the UK (latitude is the angular distance of a location relative to the earthвs equator), our weather should be a lot more hostile in the winter. For example, Edinburgh is at the same latitude as Moscow, yet Moscow is covered in snow all winter, with an average winter temperature of -7. 5 degrees! So next time youвre caught in the rain without a coat, donвt blame it on the weathermanв How much does it rain in the UK? Find out how much rain we get in the UK and where gets the most rainfall.
Where gets the most rain? As can be seen in the map below, the wettest parts of the UK are concentrated in mountainous regions with observation sites in Snowdonia, the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands all receiving more than 4 metres of rainfall in a year. North west England - especially the Lake District in Cumbria and western facing slopes of the Pennines. Western and central Wales - particularly the mountainous Snowdonia region in the north. South west England - mainly the higher elevation areas of Dartmoor, Exmoor and Bodmin moor. Parts of Northern Ireland. These areas all have common characteristics, given their high elevations (or even mountainous status) and their northern or western locations in the UK. Why do some places get more rain than others?
The map shows a clear divide between the north-west and south-east of the UK. The prevailing warm moist westerly winds mean that the west of the UK is more likely to receive rainfall from Atlantic weather systems - in the form of frontal rainfall. These weather systems usually move from west to east across the UK and as they do so the amount of rainfall they deposit reduces. This is because the mountains of the northern and western UK force the prevailing westerly winds to rise, which cools the air and consequently enhances the formation of cloud and rain in these locations (this is known as orographic enhancement). Of course, frontal and orographic rainfall are not the only rainfall mechanisms, but they are the most common in the UK.
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