Heatwave Weather

Striking recent urban heat island

Last weekend provided a nice example of the conditions needed for an Urban Heat Island to develop. On a clear calm night (23/24 April 2015) temperatures at rural Sonning Common fell to 1⁰C, whereas the minimum 7km away in Reading city centre was 7⁰C, an urban heat island (UHI) effect of 6⁰C. The next night (24/25 April) was cloudy and windy; rural minimum temperatures were some 10 degC warmer than previous night, with a UHI effect of only about 1⁰C.

You can find some idea about how to use WOW data with a class to study local Urban Heat Islands here.

Research Science

Near Total Solar Eclipse, 20 March 2015 – The National Eclipse Weather Experiment

eclipseMarch 2015 Near Total Solar Eclipse – The Science and Folklore behind Eclipses
On the morning of Friday 20 March 2015 there will be a rare near-total solar eclipse visible from the UK. The Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading are holding a series of events as part of National Science Week to explain the science and folklore behind this natural phenomenon, and the weather changes that may accompany it.

Thursday 19 March 2015 – Open Evening
19:00 – 21:00 in The Madjeski Lecture Theatre, Agriculture Building, University of Reading
On the evening before the eclipse we will be holding an open evening, which will include talks on:
Space Weather
Eclipses – The Science
Eclipses Throughout the Ages
We will also be opening up our laboratories for demonstrations using meteorological equipment and sensors to take observations of the expected variations in temperature and wind speed accompanying the eclipse.
The event is free of charge, but places are limited. Please contact Dawn Turner to register if you would like to join us.

Friday 20 March 2015 – NEWEx – National Eclipse Weather Experiment
08:00 – 11:00 Department of Meteorology, University of Reading
A solar eclipse briefly dims the radiation coming from the Sun, leading to cooling in the atmosphere with interesting effects on the weather. To study these effects, the Department of Meteorology invites you to take part in NEWEx – National Eclipse Weather Experiment, a citizen science project to collect weather data during the solar eclipse for detailed analysis. We welcome participation and lesson inclusion from schools across the country.

Eclipse 2015 – notes for schools
National Eclipse Weather Experiment Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Current weather – Arctic Maritime case study

a snowy bush

We’ve pulled together some resources to enable teachers to use the current wintry weather to teach about air masses and Arctic Maritime air.

You can find them on our weather case studies pages.


Build a weather satellite in Minecraft?


EUMETSAT is launching a Minecraft satellite-building competition for 6-16 year olds this week.

The aim of the competition is to get competitors to build a model of one or more of EUMETSAT’s weather satellites in Minecraft, or to be creative and design their own satellite from scratch. The closing date of the competition is April 30 2015.

All entries will be displayed on the EUMETSAT Learning Zone website and the winners of the two categories will each get Lego Mindstorms. There will also be runners-up prizes of Raspberry Pi (mini PC) starter kits.

More information about the competition is available on EUMETSAT’s Youth Education website at:

EUMETSAT operates Europe’s weather satellites, including Meteosat-7, 8, -9 and -10 and Metop-A and –B. Find out more at:


Weather in A level geography core content

The RMetS are delighted that, in the new core content for AS and A level geography announced at the end of the year, many of their recommendations for weather and climate have been included. As a result, many more students will study meteorology at this level.


9. Specifications must require students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the key areas of content listed below, and through this knowledge to understand that the carbon and water cycles play a key role in supporting life on Earth:

• the distribution and size of the most important stores of carbon on land, in the oceans and the atmosphere, and the factors driving change in the size of these stores over time and in space

• the pathways and processes which control the cycling of carbon within and between land, oceans and atmosphere at a range of time (seconds to millions of years) and space (plant to continental) scales. These processes must include (though need not be limited to) photosynthesis, respiration, decomposition, fossil fuel combustion, land use change, carbon sequestration in oceans and sediments, weathering

• the distribution and size of the most important stores of water on land, in the ocean, atmosphere and cryosphere, and the factors driving change in the size of these stores over time and in space

• the pathways which control cycling between land, ocean, atmosphere and cryosphere, and the processes which control transfers within and between them at a range of time (minutes to millennia) and space (hillslope to global) scales. These processes must include (though need not be limited to) evaporation and condensation, the formation of clouds and the causes of precipitation, runoff generation, catchment hydrology, water extraction and groundwater, land use change, cryospheric processes

• the links between the two cycles using climate as a key context for exploring these linkages and for developing and applying understanding of the role of feedbacks within and between the two cycles

The full core content may be found