Unit 1 – Weather and Climate
The Climate within the UK
There are FIVE main reasons for the changing/fluctuating temperature in the UK. You will
need to memorise each of them by heart!
Okay, the depressing part of the GCSE is the “depressions”.
1) They form in the Atlantic Ocean, then move east over the UK.
2) The warm air is less dense so it rises
above the cold air
3) Condensation occurs as the warm air
rises causing rain clouds to develop
4) Rising air also causes low pressure at
the Earth’s surface
5) So winds blow into the depression in a
spiral (High to low pressure)
6) A warm front is the front edge of the
moving warm air.
7) A cold front is the front edge of the moving cold air.
Latitude (how far north or south
of the equator something is, the
further north you go, the colder it
The sun is at a lower angle in
the sky so its heat energy is
spread over more of the earth’s
The UK’s most common
prevailing wind is from
the south west.
It brings moist, warm
air, making the UK wet
The West gets more
heat and rain than the
Distance from the sea
Areas nearer the sea are
warmer in winter because
the sea shores keep them
Areas near the sea are
cooler in summer because
the sea takes a long time to
The West gets more
warmed up than the East
due to the North Atlantic
Pressure Systems (from the west)
Low pressure from the west
makes a lot of rainfall as the air is
rising and the water vapour is
The is opposite for high pressure
Altitude (how high the land is)
The higher the altitude, the
colder the temperature as the
air is thinner.
The higher the altitude, the
wetter it is as the vapour
People’s homes and lives
Floods damaged homes and prized
Businesses were flooded
Contaminated water supplies
In drought, a lack of water supplies. E.g.
the “hose pipe ban”
Flood can cause deaths by drowning
Heat waves can cause death by heat
Milder winters may reduce cold-related
Floods can block roads and railways,
disrupting transport systems
High temperatures can cause railway lines
to buckle so trains can’t run properly
People will become anti-social and
isolated due to a lack of transport
Droughts will cause crop failures
Increased rainfall could be good and
A warmer climate means farmers can
grow a wider variety of crops
These are almost the opposite of a depression. They cause clear skies and dry weather.
1) These also form in the Atlantic Ocean and move east over the UK.
2) These create high pressure as the warm air is
3) This warm air can hold more water so there is NO
4) Creates clear skies in summer, however, it’s very
different in winter
5) In winter, anticyclones give long periods of cold,
foggy weather. Heat is lost from the earth’s surface at
night because there are no clouds to reflect it back. The
temperature drops and condensation occurs near the
Extreme UK weather
The weather in the UK is getting more extreme. In other words, there is more rain; more
floods and temperatures are increasing. The impacts of this changing climate are as follows:
Reducing Negative Impacts
1) Preparing – flood defences and better education of the issue
2) Planning – emergency services should know all the procedures
3) Warning – warning systems give people time to prepare for extreme weather
Threat of Global Climate Change
Climate change is any change in the weather of an area over a long period. Global warming
is the increase in global temperature over the last century.
1) Global temperature has been measured using thermometers for the last 150 years.
During the last 100 years, average global temperature has risen by about 0.9*c.
2) Scientists have also reconstructed the climate over the last 1000 years using things
like historical records, tree rings and cores taken from ice sheets.
3) This shows that global temperature is rising sharply now compared to how it was in
4) There’s some other evidence too:
Ice sheets are melting
Sea level is rising
1) An increase in human activities like burning fossil fuels and deforestation has caused
an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide and methane
2) These are greenhouse gases – they trap heat reflected off the Earth’s surface
3) Greenhouse gages keep the Earth warm because they trap heat. Increasing the
concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere means the Earth heats up
too much – causing global warming.
Economic Impacts – Climate change will affect farming in different ways round the world. In
higher latitudes, warmer weather will mean some farmers can make more money – some
crop yields will be increase, and they’ll be able to grow new types of crops to sell.
Social Impacts – People won’t be able to grow as much food in lower latitudes. This could
lead to malnutrition, ill health and death from starvation.
Environmental Impacts – Global warming is causing sea level to rise, so some habitats will
be lost as low-lying coastal environments are submerged. Rising temperature and
decreased rainfall will mean some environments will turn into deserts.
Political Impacts – Water will become scarcer in some places. Competition over water could
lead to war between countries. Climate change may cause people to move, therefore
International – Kyoto Protocol, their aim is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by
5% below 1990 levels by 2012. Each country is set a target and there are meetings to make
sure countries are keeping to their target. America is not included in this.
National - Transport strategies can be improved upon, making sure less people use the car.
Taxation on high polluting vehicles and factories could also reduce emissions.
Local – Conserving energy, recycling and congestion charging will all reduce emissions.
Tropical storms create quite a lot of havoc. This is where the hurricanes come in. Most
people will be doing hurricane Katrina as an MEDC and Burma as an LEDC. Tropical storms
are called a variety of things such as hurricanes or typhoons, but they are all basically the
This is how they are formed:
1) Only formed when sea water is 27*c or higher.
2) Happen in late summer or autumn
3) Warm moist air rises and condenses
4) They move west because of the easterly winds near the equator
5) They lose strength when they move over land because the energy supply from the
water is cut off
6) Most tropical storms happen between 5* and 30* degrees north and south of the
equator, any further north and the water isn’t hot enough
7) The Earth’s rotation deflects the path of the winds which causes the storms to spin
Anti-clockwise spin and move north west.
They’re circular in shape and usually last between 7 and 14 days
The lose their strength when they move over land
They are extremely powerful due to their consistent
spirally of hot air
The Eye wall
Spiralling rising air