Climate and Weather in Great Britain
Weather is not the same as climate. The weather at a place is the state of the atmosphere there at a given time or over a short period. The weather of the British Isles is greatly variable.
The climate of a place or region, on the other hand, represents the average weather conditions over a long period of time.
The climate of any place results from the interaction of a number of determining factors, of which the most important are latitude, distance from the sea, relief and the direction of the prevailing winds.
The geographical position of the British Isles within latitudes 50o to 60o N is a basic factor in determining the main characteristics of the climate. Temperature, the most important climatic element, depends not only on the angle at which the sun’s rays strike the earth’s surface, but also on the duration of daylight. The length of day at London ranges from 16 hours 35 minutes on June to 7 hours 50 minutes on 21 December. British latitudes form the temperate nature of the British climate, for the sun is never directly overhead as in the tropical areas.
Britain’s climate is dominated by the influence of the sea. It is much milder than that in any other country in the same latitudes. This is due partly to the presence of the North Atlantic Drift, or the Gulf Stream, and partly to the fact that north-west Europe lies in a predominantly westerly wind-belt. This means that marine influences warm the land in winter and cool in summer. This moderating effect of the sea is in fact, the cause of the relatively small seasonal contrasts experienced in Britain. …
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