Country Background Information: Australia

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Country Background Information: Australia

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Australia

If possible, download these two documents to your phone, so that you can refer to them later:

Key country facts

Glossary

great barrier reef

Off the north east coast of Australia is the Great Barrier Reef – the world’s largest coral reef system covering 344,400 km2. The Reef is home to more than 2000 species of corals and fish and other marine animals such as whales, dolphins, sharks, and rays. However, continuous increases in ocean temperatures have caused more than 60% of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef to bleach. 25% are severely bleached.

koala

Like kangaroos, koalas are native to Australia. They live in forests and woodlands and feed off leaves of eucalypts. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has recently listed them as Vulnerable because of the impacts of climate change and loss of habitat. 10 000 koalas died in the 2019/ 2020 Australian bushfires.

bondi beach

Because of its size, Australia has a variety of weather and seasons depending on the region. The popular Bondi Beach in New South Wales can be found in the temperate zone, where average summer temperature is between 16 and 26 °C. However, during heatwaves, temperature can reach as high as 48 °C.

aboriginals

Known as the oldest civilization, Aborigines lived in Australia long before the arrival of European settlers in the 1700s. Aboriginal Australians have a very diverse culture – rich with arts, music, and dance. Source: Flickr / Dan Lundberg

gold mine

One of the biggest industry in Australia is mining. It is also a large contributor to the country’s economy. Apart from gold, Australia also mines coal, uranium, iron ore, nickel, bauxite, lead, copper, zinc, mineral sands and diamonds.

Australia city

About 25 million people live in Australia, where 86% reside and work in urban areas. The country also has one of the highest living costs in the world. On average, living costs in Australia are 13% higher than in the UK.

port

Australia is one of the world’s largest coal exporters. Gladstone Port in Queensland exports about 70 million tonnes of coal per year. Coal accounts for 40% of Australia’s energy use and 72% of electricity generation.

sydney opera house

Built in 1973, the Opera House in Sydney is named as one of the most distinctive buildings of the 20th century. It attracts 10.9 million visitors every year.

bush fire

Bushfires are common in Australia because of its generally hot and dry climate, topography and flammable vegetation like eucalypts. Every year, bushfires cause damage to properties and loss of life. Australia’s summer of 2019/20 released more carbon dioxide than Australia does in a year. Bushfires are becoming more common.

royal exhibition hall

The Royal Exhibition building, surrounded by the iconic Carlton Gardens, is the first UNESCO World Heritage Listing in Australia. It was built in 1880 and remains as the only surviving Great Hall for exhibitions.

Country Background Information: Nigeria

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Country Background Information: Nigeria

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Nigeria

If possible, download these two documents to your phone, so that you can refer to them later:

Key country facts

Glossary

lagos

Nigeria has the highest population in Africa. 51% of its population lives in urban areas, an 18% increase over the last 10 years. Half the population of the country lives below the International Poverty Line, driven by ethnic conflict, political instability and income inequality. Source: Flickr / Robert

women

Gender inequality is a major issue in Nigeria. In 2007, 64% of boys and 58% of girls of primary school age were in school. Nigeria has the highest number of children out of school in the world. Source: Flickr / Mark Fischer

drilling

Nigeria is the 13th largest producer of oil in the world. Its oil and gas sector accounts for about 10% of GDP, while petroleum exports revenue represents over 86% of total exports revenue. However, it employs only a tiny fraction of the population and conflict limits productivity. Source: Flickr / e.r.w.i.n.

market

Agriculture and food production is the main source of livelihood and largest economic sector in Nigeria, despite the prominence of the oil industry. Its main crops are rice and cassava, with a heavy reliance on rainfall. Source: Flickr / Andrew Moore

makoko village

Situated on a lagoon in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, is Makoko – a floating slum village. This community was a result of population explosion and migration of people into the cities. It has about 250,000 residents. The government is working with them to regenerate the area. Source: Flickr / Rainer Wozny, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

villager

There are more rural poor than urban poor. Nigeria has the 5th lowest life expectancy of countries worldwide. Source: Flickr / Rainer Wozny, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

waterfall

Nigeria’s unique rainforest is amongst the richest in Africa. The country is also home to numerous important game reserves, such as the Yankari and Kainji national parks. Source: Flickr / Shiraz Chakera

infrastructure

Despite its relatively fast development, infrastructure (e.g. buildings, roads and other communications networks and power supplies) in Nigeria remains inadequate. Nigeria spends about US$6 billion (5% of GDP) per year for infrastructure development, however, the Asian Development Bank recommends that for a developing country to sustain growth, it has to spend at least 6% of its GDP on infrastructure. Source: Flickr / Jollof Malt

cocoa

Cocoa is the main agricultural export of Nigeria. However, production has been declining in the last five years. Apart from policy challenges, cocoa production is sensitive to increase in temperature and reduced rainfall. Source: Flickr / Jollof Malt

desertification

Around two-thirds of the total land area of Nigeria is experiencing desertification. Desertification happens because of high temperatures and low rainfall which results in land being unable to support vegetation or the growth of plants. Source: Flickr / Jeff Attaway

Country Background Information: Maldives

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Country Background Information: Maldives

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Maldives

If possible, download these two documents to your phone, so that you can refer to them later:

Maldives

Glossary

tropical beach

Tourism is the main industry in the Maldives. It has 1,190 islands, with 200 inhabited. The availability of drinking water and arable land are its limiting factors. As sea levels rise, salt water can encroach on the lenses of fresh water stored in the ground.

corals

Maldives has one of the richest marine biodiversity in the world. All the islands in the Maldives are atolls or ring-shaped coral islands. In unusually hot weather, coral reefs can become ‘bleached’ when the coral loses the algae that lives within it and provides it with food. In long hot spells, this can lead to the coral dying. Over 60% of its reefs are already bleached. As the climate warms, more bleaching events are predicted.

maldives underwater

Over 80% of the Maldives is less than 1m above sea level. This makes the country very vulnerable to sea level rise. In 2009, the Government held a cabinet meeting under water to highlight its vulnerability. Source: Flickr/ Sindi

mangroves

The Maldives hold a range of coastal ecosystems including coral reefs, seagrass beds, lagoons, beaches and small areas of mangrove. These coastal and marine ecosystems are the asset base of the national economy. For example, tourism is based wholly on the health and attractiveness of Maldives’s coastal features. Source: Wikimedia Commons / Nevit Dilmen

family

The total population of the Maldives is just over 540,000. The number of people living in poverty in the Maldives has fallen rapidly in recent years such that now there is very little. Recent migration to the Maldives from South Asia, Egypt, Russia etc. has been to fill jobs in tourism, construction, health and education sectors. Migrants make up over a third of the population.

male arial photo

Most people live on the capital island, Male. Congestion is an issue. It is the 7th most densely populated island in the world. Source: Flickr / Timo Newton-Syms

cargo boat

Imported oil and diesel are the main power source for the Maldives. The Maldives also imports wood, iron and steel, pre-fabricated buildings, vegetables and cement. Source: Flickr / Mark Fischer

fishmonger

Fishing is the second largest industry in the Maldives. Fish is the dominant export from the islands. Fishing relies on healthy marine ecosystems. Source: Flickr / Mark Fischer

diving

Many tourist resorts are reporting severe beach erosion as sea levels rise. Source: Flickr / Neville Wootton

coconuts

Coconuts are important to Maldives’ agriculture and economy. Coconut production is its main agricultural activity while copra made from coconut palms is one of its top export products. Source: Flickr / Easa Shamih

Country Background Information: India

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Country Background Information: India

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India

If possible, download these two documents to your phone, so that you can refer to them later:

Key country facts

Glossary

taj mahal

The Taj Mahal is a popular tourist attraction in Agra, India. It is considered to be the greatest example of Indo-Islamic architecture and was listed as a UN World Heritage Site in 1983. Local air pollution can cause discoloration to its centuries-old white marble.

flooding

Over 40 million hectares of India’s land is prone to flooding including its two main cities, Kolkota and Mumbai. As sea levels rise, by 2050 at least 40 million people are expected to be at risk.

monsoon

The monsoon season in India is from June to December. Year to year changes in the monsoon can mean flooding or drought. The impact of climate change on the Indian monsoon is as yet not clear. Source: Flickr / Craig Cloutier

mumbai

India is a rising economic power. Its financial and commercial centre is Mumbai where many of its industry sectors operate. These include electronics, manufacturing, and textile, contributing 25% to India’s industrial output. It is also the richest and most populous city in India. Source: Flickr / Puranjit Gangopadhyay / CIFOR

busy market

Over 1 380 million people live in India and its population continue to grow at a faster pace than China. It is therefore projected that by 2024, it will overtake China as the most populous country in the world. 21% of its population is below the poverty line.

wheat fields

Wheat is one of the main agricultural products of India, cultivated mostly in the Northern region. India is the second top producer of wheat in the world. Despite the existence of big commercial industries in Indian cities, more people (42%) still rely on agriculture for livelihood and employment.

Glacier

The Indian Himalayan glaciers cover around 25,000 km2 of catchment area, flowing in three major river systems. Glacial meltwater is important for reservoirs and river flow. Any change in the ice cover and flow of melting glaciers can significantly affect river systems, potentially impacting water quality and availability, for domestic, agricultural and industrial use. Source: Flickr / Steynard

solar panels

Solar energy is India’s top and fastest growing renewable energy resource. It currently contributes 10% to the country’s energy mix, with a generation capacity of 37 GW. In 2017, solar power became cheaper than power from coal. Source: Flickr / CGIAR

rickshaws

Auto-rickshaws are a popular mode of transportation in Indian cities. In Mumbai alone, there are about 200,000 of them. Air pollution from rickshaws poses health risks. Source: Flickr / Melanie M

Delhi

The Urban Heat Island effect means that many cities, like New Delhi, experience warmer temperatures, particularly at night. The warmest places are usually concentrated in residential, industrial, and commercial zones. Source: Flickr / Francisco Anzola

Country Background Information: European Union

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Country Background Information: European Union

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Europe

For the purposes of these negotiations, the 27 countries of the EU are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

If possible, download these two documents to your phone, so that you can refer to them later:

Key EU facts

Glossary

EU flag

The European Union is composed of 27 diverse member states. The EU more than met its 2020 target of 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The European Climate Law sets the 2050 target of becoming the world’s first climate neutral continent. Between 2014 and 2020 the EU committed EUR 14 billion to finance climate change adaptation and mitigation activities in developing countries. Source: Flickr / Thijs ter Haar

Luxembourg

Luxembourg is the second richest country in the world based on income. Only 2 500 km2 in size, its territorial GHG emissions are much lower than other EU countries. However, their per capita emissions are one of the highest in the world due to a more energy-intensive lifestyle.

Paris

One of the most visited European destinations, Paris is also significant as a landmark for climate negotiations. In 2015 at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties, 195 nations agreed to sign the Paris Agreement which aims to “keep the global temperature rise in this century well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels” and pursue a limit of 1.5 C.

Croatia

Croatia joined the European Union in 2013; the newest member of the EU. Compared to other EU countries which focus on climate change mitigation, the government of Croatia’s climate change policy is focused on adaptation. Because of its coastal location, around 15% of the country is at risk from flooding caused by rising sea levels and extreme weather events. Source: Flickr / Andrey

BMW HQ

Germany has the largest economy in Europe, powered by its biggest industry–automobile manufacturing. Through improvements in engine efficiency and fuel alternatives, this industry has seen significant reductions in GHG emissions. So far, Germany has managed to reduce its total emissions to 36% below 1990 levels, yet it remains to be the biggest contributor to EU emissions.

Malta

Malta currently has the lowest GHG emission among all EU countries, with only 2 Mt CO2eq. Investment in new generation capacity, fuel switching and alternative sourcing of electricity contribute towards the rapid decrease in emissions since 2012.

wind farm at sea

Denmark generates the highest wind power in Europe. In 2019, more than 47% of the country’s electricity was from wind energy. Denmark also exports wind energy to neighbouring countries. Source: Flickr / Kim Hansen

Olive Trees

Olive oil is one of the top agricultural exports from the EU, providing 67% of the world’s olive oil. Scientists predict that olive yield will be affected as drought and pest infestations increase with climate change.

Nuclear Plant

Nuclear power is significant in France’s energy and economy. Around 75% of France’s electricity is from nuclear power. It is also able to export electricity from nuclear energy, earning them around EUR 3 billion per year. Source: Flickr / IAEA Imagebank

Refugees Welcome Sign

Since 2015, about 2 million refugees have come to the EU. Climate change is expected to cause further migration. The EU recognizes this and has set out policy discussions on how they could support and assist other countries in addressing migration as an adaptation strategy. Source: Flicker / Ilias Bartolini

Country Background Information: China

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Country Background Information: China

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China

If possible, download these two documents to your phone, so that you can refer to them later:

Key country facts

Glossary

great wall of china

The Great Wall is one of the most popular historial attractions in China. Built from 3rd century BC to the 17th century AD as a military defence, the Wall extends to 20,000 km. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

shanghai

On the central coast of China is its biggest city and financial centre; Shanghai. While the city booms economically, its coastal location makes it vulnerable to extreme weather such as flooding. This threatens infrastructure, people, businesses and other economic activities.

panda bear

Pandas are native to China. Despite being a popular conservation icon, giant pandas remain vulnerable to climate change and habitat destruction.

pollution

Urban pollution, including haze and smog, is one of the biggest problems in major Chinese cities. This is caused by smoke from the many vehicles, steel factories, and coal-fired power plants. According to recent research, greenhouse gases potentially contribute to the increasing severity and frequency of haze, exacerbating health risks in cities. Source: Flickr / Thomas Galvez

factory workers

Around 30% of China’s population are employed in industry including mining, iron, steel, aluminum, machinery, and textiles. China is the largest exporter of goods in the world. This also makes it the biggest ‘carbon exporter’: it emits a significant amount of greenhouse gas through making goods for other countries. Source: Flickr / Chris

city people

China has the largest population of any country in the world. With over 1 400 million people, about 20% of the world’s population live in China. However, low birth rates due to government policy and personal choice mean their population is ageing rapidly.

power plant

As part of its efforts to reduce air pollution from coal-fired power plants and to shift to non-fossil fuel energy source, China is increasing its investments in nuclear energy. It currently has 45 nuclear power reactors and is building 12 more. Source: Flickr / Shubert Ciencia

cement factory

China’s manufacturing sector contributes about 40% to its GDP. The cement industry in particular, is one of its largest, along with steel and chemical fertilizers. These however are also carbon-intensive industries and are the largest sources of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. China is the world’s biggest carbon emitter with emissions increasing through 2018 and the first half of 2019. Source: Flickr / Jonathan Kos-Read

gorges dam

The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric dam built along the Yang Tze River. 660 km long with a 22,500 MW capacity, it is the largest power station in the world. Because of social and environmental issues surrounding its construction, it is also considered by campaigners as the most controversial power station. Source: Flickr / Harvey Barrison

rice fields

425 million are employed in agriculture, producing food for 20% of the world’s population. Crops include rice, wheat, potatoes, sorghum, peanuts, tea, millet, barley, cotton and soybeans. About 74% of their total nitrous oxide emissions (a greenhouse gas) come from fertilizer applications.

Country Background Information: Bangladesh

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Country Background Information: Bangladesh

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Bangladesh

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Key country facts

Glossary

farming

Agriculture is the main industry employing 87% of its rural population. 39% of Bangladesh’s greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture which is in itself very vulnerable to floods and drought. Rice is the main crop grown. Source: Flickr /IRRI

rickshaw

Rickshaws, both pedal and motorised, are one of the most common public transportation system in Bangladesh. Transport is Bangladesh’s fastest growing sector and is where Bangladesh’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are focussed. Source: Flickr /IRRI

willage

Poverty remains prominent in Bangladesh, where around 22% of the population live below the international poverty line. Many of its rural areas are in riverside and coastal communities that are continuously affected by coastal flooding, river erosion and salt water intrusion. These affect their land and livelihoods making the poor especially vulnerable to climate change.

bengal tiger

The Bengal Tiger is the national animal of Bangladesh and is listed as an endangered species by the IUCN. According to a report by the WWF, continuous sea level rise in the coastal area of Sundarban could significantly reduce their habitats and further endanger tiger populations.

stilt houses

Two thirds of Bangladesh is less than 5m above sea level. Stilt houses are structural solutions for floodprone areas.With around 700 rivers and an extensive river network, up to 70% of the country becomes flooded every year. Tropical cyclones can also cause coastal flooding. Both these risks could increase as the climate changes. If global temperatures continue to increase to 2°C, scientists predict that almost 20% of Bangladesh would eventually be below sea level. Source: Flickr / UCL Development Planning Unit

kids

All children between the ages of 6 and 10 must attend school. Access to education remains a challenge for vulnerable groups, particularly working children, disabled children, indigenous children and those in remote areas or living in extreme poverty. Boys are more likely to miss school than girls, when required to help support their families. Source: Flickr / IRRI

boats on river

Bangladesh lies on a delta of rivers emptying into the Bay of Bengal. Is it low lying and therefore prone to flooding and the effects of tropical cyclones and sea level rise. The government of Bangladesh spends 6-7% of its annual budget on adapting to climate change already. Source: Flickr / IRRI

dhaka uni

Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh, with a population of 21 million people. The textile industry, making clothes for international markets, is centred on urban areas and is the country’s biggest industry. Source: Flickr /IRRI

busy city

There was rapid urbanisation between 2000 – 2010. 55% of the urban population live in slums. Bangladesh is one of the world’s most densely populated countries with a population of over 160 million. Source: Flickr / Francisco Anzola

drought

Bangladesh sits on the Tropic of Cancer. Monsoon rains last from June to October. North-western Bangladesh can experience drought conditions when there is little rain before or after the monsoon. Climate change is expected to change the rainfall pattern in a way which will lead to more frequent droughts. Source: Flickr /IRRI

Country Background Information

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Country Background Information

Australia
Bangladesh
Bangladesh
China
Europe
India
Maldives
Nigeria
Russian Federation
USA
Venezuela

Climate Change Negotiations for Schools

Simulating a world climate change conference

Guidance for Teachers

  • Notes for teachers – this contains everything you need to know to run the activity. Start here!
  • Curriculum Links
  • Print:
    Pack 1 (double sided if possible) – note these are personalised;
    Pack 2 (table flags, must be printed in colour, could be laminated), or as Pack2b names (which can be printed in black and white).
    Pack 3 (sticky labels for printing on standard 8 row label sheets or print on paper and use school lanyards),
    Optional Pack 4 (country fact sheets for reference in class),
    Pack 5 for Module 4, Market Places.
  • PowerPoint slides for use in all modules. Edit this before use to assign students to each country.

Please let us know if you have used these resources by emailing education@rmets.org. It would be great if you could also tell us which year group you used it with, how many students there were and how it went. This will help us refine it in the future.

Module 1 – Introduction

Module 2 – homework

Module 4

Module 5

Module 6

Useful Tools:

Acknowledgements

Silver Geographical Association Publishers Award 2018This work was funded by the Royal Meteorological Society and is supported by Rimini Protokoll, based on their theatre production for DeutschesSchauspielHausHamburg: World Climate Change Conference , 2014.

We are delighted that this resource has been awarded a Silver award by the Geographical Association. The citation given reads “Simulating a world climate change conference is a free, online and multimedia resource, relevant for both GCSE and A level specifications. It provides a wealth of high-quality, sophisticated and up-to-date materials including video input from one of the British delegates to the Paris climate talks. The judges felt that the quality of the resource would enable teachers to confidently set up an excellent simulation for their classes.”

This resource has also been Highly Commended by the Scottish Association for Geography Teachers.

You may also be interested in the higher level version, not specifically for schools, created by Climate Interactives using the CRoads model and the model climate conferences for secondary schools run by InterClimate.org in local council chambers.

David Warrilow, UK representative to the Paris negotiations, has published this article: Science and the international climate negotiations

stripes Europe

Anticyclones, Depressions and Fronts

LESSON PLAN: Introduction to Anticyclones, Depressions and Fronts
Key Stage 4 – GCSE
Subject Geography


 

Length 1 lesson

Teaching Objectives/Learning Outcomes
By the end of the lesson, pupils will know and understand:
Characteristics of depressions and fronts and the sequence of associated weather
Characteristics of anticyclones and the contrast between those in summer and in winter.

Resources Required
None.

Prior Knowledge Required
A basic knowledge of weather and climate

Teaching Activities
The following web pages have related resources at a similar level:

Weather Systems

Student Charts

Weather Systems

Exercises
4 worksheets with exercises are provided to consolidate learning.
A series of extension exercises are provided for more able students, or those who have already studied the topics covered in more detail prior to this lesson.

Plenary – A quiz is available, which brings together all the topics covered. The can be used to examine whether the objectives of the lessons have been met.

Suggestions for Home Work
Any of the worksheet activities can be completed as homework.

PART A – ANTICYCLONES AND DEPRESSIONS

High Pressure Systems

A high pressure system, also known as an anticyclone occurs when the weather is dominated by stable conditions. Under an anticyclone air is descending, forming an area of higher pressure at the surface. Because of these stable conditions, cloud formation is inhibited, so the weather is usually settled with only small amounts of cloud cover. In the Northern Hemisphere winds blow in a clockwise direction around an anticyclone. As isobars are normally widely spaced around an anticyclone, winds are often quite light.
Anticyclones can be identified on weather charts as an often large area of widely spaced isobars, where pressure is higher than surrounding areas.

Winter Anticyclones

In winter the clear, settled conditions and light winds associated with anticyclones can lead to frost and fog. The clear skies allow heat to be lost from the surface of the earth by radiation, allowing temperatures to fall steadily overnight, leading to air or ground frosts. Light winds along with falling temperatures can encourage fog to form; this can linger well into the following morning and be slow to clear. If high pressure becomes established over Northern Europe during winter this can bring a spell of cold easterly winds to the UK.

Summer Anticyclones

In summer the clear settled conditions associated with anticyclones can bring long sunny days and warm temperatures. The weather is normally dry, although occasionally, very hot temperatures can trigger thunderstorms. An anticyclone situated over the UK or near continent usually brings warm, fine weather.

Low Pressure Systems

A low pressure system, also known as a depression occurs when the weather is dominated by unstable conditions. Under a depression air is rising, forming an area of low pressure at the surface. This rising air cools and condenses and helps encourage cloud formation, so the weather is often cloudy and wet. In the Northern Hemisphere winds blow in anticlockwise direction around a depression. Isobars are normally closely spaced around a depressions leading to strong winds.
Depressions can be identified on weather charts as an area of closely spaced isobars, often in a roughly circular shape, where pressure is lower than surrounding areas. They are often accompanied by fronts.

What to do next
Using this information on pressure systems you should now be able to complete worksheet 1. Then you can move on to extension exercise 1 or worksheet 2

  • PART B – FRONTS

A front is a boundary between two different types of air masses, these are normally warm moist air masses from the tropics and cooler drier air masses from polar regions. Fronts move with the wind so over the UK they normally move from west to east. The notes below provide information about the most common types of fronts. The descriptions given apply to active well developed fronts, weaker fronts may not display all the characteristics or they may be less well defined.

Warm Fronts

A warm front indicates that warm air is advancing and rising up over the colder air. This is because the warm air is ‘lighter’ or less dense, than the cold air. Therefore warm fronts occur where warmer air is replacing cooler air at the surface. As the warm front approaches there is a gradual deterioration in the weather. Clouds gradually lower from higher cirrus, through altostratus, to stratus and nimbostratus at the front. There is often a prolonged spell of rainfall which is often heavy. Behind the warm front the rain becomes lighter, turns to drizzle or ceases, but it remains cloudy.

Temperatures rise behind the warm front and winds turn clockwise, also known as a wind ‘veer’. Pressure falls steadily ahead of and during the passage of the warm front, but then rises slowly after its passage.

The following diagram shows the formation of a warm front in diagrammatic form.

PART B – FRONTS A front is a boundary between two different types of air masses, these are normally warm moist air masses from the tropics and cooler drier air masses from polar regions. Fronts move with the wind so over the UK they normally move from west to east. The notes below provide information about the most common types of fronts. The descriptions given apply to active well developed fronts, weaker fronts may not display all the characteristics or they may be less well defined. Warm Fronts A warm front indicates that warm air is advancing and rising up over the colder air. This is because the warm air is ‘lighter’ or less dense, than the cold air. Therefore warm fronts occur where warmer air is replacing cooler air at the surface. As the warm front approaches there is a gradual deterioration in the weather. Clouds gradually lower from higher cirrus, through altostratus, to stratus and nimbostratus at the front. There is often a prolonged spell of rainfall which is often heavy. Behind the warm front the rain becomes lighter, turns to drizzle or ceases, but it remains cloudy. Temperatures rise behind the warm front and winds turn clockwise, also known as a wind ‘veer’. Pressure falls steadily ahead of and during the passage of the warm front, but then rises slowly after its passage. The following diagram shows the formation of a warm front in diagrammatic form.

The following diagram shows a cross section through a warm front, with associated cloud, temperature and weather changes.

anticyclones_depressions_fronts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cold Fronts

A cold front indicates that cold air is advancing and pushing underneath warmer air at the surface. This occurs because the cold air is ‘heavier’ or denser than the warm air. Therefore cold fronts occur where cooler air is replacing warmer air at the surface. The passage of weather associated with a cold front is much shorter lived than that with a warm front. As there is often a lot of cloud in the warmer air ahead of the cold front, there is often little indication of the approaching cold front. As the front passes temperatures fall and there is often a short spell of very heavy rain, sometimes with inbedded thunderstorms and cumulonimbus clouds. Behind the front the weather is much brighter with broken clouds but occasional showers. Winds veer with the passage of the cold front and are often strong and gusty, especially near showers. Pressure rises throughout the approach and passage of the cold front.

The following diagram shows the formation of a cold front in diagrammatic form.

anticyclones_depressions_fronts_3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following diagram shows a cross section through a cold front, with associated cloud, temperature and weather changes.

anticyclones depressions fronts

 

 

 

 

 

 

Occlusions

In a mature depression the warm front normally precedes the cold front. Cold fronts generally travel much quicker than warm fronts, and eventually it will catch up with the warm front. Where the two fronts meet, warm air is lifted from the surface and an occlusion is formed. An occlusion can be thought of as having similar characteristics to both warm and cold fronts. The weather ahead of an occlusion is similar to that ahead of a warm front, whilst the weather behind is similar to that behind a cold front.

The following diagrams depict the formation of an occlusion

anticyclones_depressions_fronts_5

anticyclones_depressions_fronts_6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to do next
You can now move on to Part C – Life Cycle of a Depression.

 

PART C – LIFE CYCLE OF A DEPRESSION

A Norwegian scientist called Vilhelm Bjerknes devised a simple model which described how depressions developed from the meeting of warm and cold air. The model had four stages which are detailed below.

Origin and Infancy

Initially a warm air mass such as one from the tropics, meets a cooler air mass, such as one from the polar regions. Depressions which affect the UK normally originate over the Atlantic Ocean.

anticyclones depressions

Maturity

The warm air rises up over the colder air which is sinking. A warm sector develops between the warm and cold fronts. The mature stage of a depression often occurs over the UK.

anticyclones depressions fronts

Occlusion

The cold front travels at around 40 to 50 miles per hour, compared to the warm front which travels at only 20 to 30 miles per hour. Therefore the cold front eventually catches up with the warm front. When this occurs an occlusion is formed.

anticyclones depressions fronts

Death

Eventually the frontal system dies as all the warm air has been pushed up from the surface and all that remains is cold air. The occlusion dies out as temperatures are similar on both sides. This stage normally occurs over Europe or Scandinavia.

What to do next
You can now move on to Part D – Depression cross-section and weather sequence

PART D – DEPRESSION CROSS SECTION AND WEATHER SEQUENCE

 

Cross-section through a Classic Depression

Most depressions have a warm and cold front, more mature depressions may also have an occluded front. The diagram below shows a cross-section through a depression, showing the warm and cold fronts and an indication of the associated weather.

anticyclones_depressions

table

What to do next

Using this information on the passage of depressions you should now be able to complete worksheet 3 and worksheet 4.

 

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