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

Geography Science Secondary Teaching

Climate Change Updates for Science and Geography Teachers

Together with climate scientists from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, we have compiled two booklets based on the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. The contents have been chosen to support the new National Curriculum in England. The booklets can be found on the MetLink site, under the climate tab, and are available for science and geography or, to request a print copy, please contact


Paris Smog

On March 17th, the French government enforced rules allowing only motorists driving cars with odd-numbered registration plates to enter the French capital and use the roads in the surrounding departments. This was the result of High pressure weather conditions, with hot days and cold nights, which allowed pollutants to build up in the city until pollution exceeded safe levels for 5 consecutive days.

News item about the smog:
An article from the BBC about free public transport
A feature from the BBC
An article from the BBC about the car ban
An explanation of the weather conditions leading to the smog from BBC weather
An article from the Economist about the car ban

Weather Map:
paris smog weather map
Teaching Resources about Anticyclones:

Extreme weather

The weather of 2013/ 2014

The Geographical Association have put together a useful set of background information and teaching resources focussing on the storms of 2013/ 2014. You can find them at