Today’s weather from above

12 03 2013

Today’s satellite images show the small areas of the UK which have snow lying, as well as a number of interesting cloud formations.

12 March 2013 Left: Visible satellite image of the UK, Right: False colour satellite image of the UK.

12 March 2013 Left: Visible satellite image of the UK, Right: False colour satellite image of the UK.

The snow shows up very clearly over the Pennines and Scottish Borders, over the Isle of Wight, southeast England and the far east of East Anglia. False colour images are particularly good for identifying snow because the turquoise colour helps to differentiate between the white of the snow and the white of the clouds.


You can also see how the clouds have lined up on the wind across southern Britain – this is a great example of cumulus clouds forming ‘cloud streets’ when the winds at the height of the clouds are strong.


Over the sea to the north of the UK we can see more shower clouds moving towards us. Here we have a great example of the two different types of convection: open cell – where the individual clouds form circles over the sea; and closed cell – where the individual clouds have ‘clumped’ together across northern Scotland.


Aren’t satellite pictures wonderful.

Top ten romantic weather phenomena

12 02 2013

With Valentine’s day this week, we’ve complied the top ten romantic or magical weather conditions.

1. Diamond dust – Diamond dust consists of extremely small ice crystals, usually formed at temperatures below -30 °C. The name diamond dust comes from the sparkling effect created when light reflects on the ice crystals in the air.
2. Sunset – Sunsets are colourful because the light from the setting sun has to travel through more of the atmosphere to reach us. This means more of the blue light from the sun is scattered away from us, so we can see more of the red light.
3. Crepuscular rays – This phenomenon occurs when light from the rising or setting sun is scattered, producing sunbeams.
4. Iridescent clouds – A pretty display of iridescent colours in a cloud is most commonly seen in high level cumulus clouds.
5. Dew – Very small droplets of water which form during calm weather as the air cools. The process of droplets settling is called ‘dew-fall’.
6. FrostFrost forms on still, clear and cold nights. The cool air causes water vapour in the air to condense and form droplets. When the temperature of the ground or surface is below 0 °C the moisture freezes into ice crystals.
7. Double rainbow – Magical as they may seem, a double rainbow occurs when a secondary rainbow forms outside of the brighter, primary rainbow. The colour sequence is reversed because the light has been reflected within each raindrop a second time. As the light has been refracted twice, the secondary rainbow will not be as bright.
8. Snowflakes – Every single snowflake is unique, but because molecules in the ice crystals that make up snowflakes join together in a hexagonal structure they always have six sides.
9. Heart shape cloudsClouds can form in virtually any shape, and sometimes you may see some that look like things, even hearts.
10. Halo – A halo can appear around the sun or the moon, and although they may look angelic, can often signify that a weather front is approaching.

Cloud spotting infographic and video

17 01 2012

Having trouble telling a cumulus from a stratus cloud? In our video James Chubb explains how clouds form and how this can help you can tell one cloud from another. We’ve also put together a guide to identifying all the different cloud types and how clouds form on the Met Office website.

To help with observing clouds we’ve created this infographic. Feel free to share and use on your own website or blog, you can get the embed code and a printable version from our cloud spotting page.

Met Office guide to cloud types and pronunciations

If you spot any interesting clouds, why not take a picture and add them to our Flickr clouds group.

Met Office in the Media: 09 May 2011

9 05 2011

A story about the  forecast for the Royal Wedding provided by the Met Office was published by the Sunday Express this weekend.  The story, however, fails to accurately review the forecast that was actually provided for the wedding, and as a result is misleading.

Our forecasts were used by millions of people in London and across the country to help celebrate the big day, providing accurate information on sunny spells developing and the small risk of showers.

Reviewing the forecast we issued, it highlighted a very small risk of showers first thing followed by sunny spells developing through the morning. There was then the risk of further showers in the afternoon.  It is possible to review this forecast in a News Release issued on the Thursday before the wedding.

Looking back at the weather for the day then there were, as forecast, some showers first thing across parts of north and west London. These then cleared to allow sunny spells to develop.  Further showers, some of these heavy, then developed in the afternoon.

This maps below show radar rainfall maps for the 29th April. The first the rainfall radar at 1030 BST (0930 GMT).  It clearly shows showers to the north and west of London as well as showers across parts of northern England and Western Scotland. The second shows the rainfall radar at 1530 BST (1430 GMT).  Showers, some heavy (indicated by the brighter colours) have broken out to the north of London again and moved west to other parts of England.  Further showers affect parts of northern England and southern Scotland.

UK Rainfall Radar Image (29 April 1030 BST)

UK Rainfall Radar Image (29 April 1530 BST)

As predicted the ‘Spanish Plume’ widely talked about last week, brought warm conditions across the UK. Heavy thunderstorms were reported on both Friday and Saturday.  Many newspapers, including the Daily Mail reported on the welcome rain over the weekend.

Lastly the Sunday Telegraph reports on a new book that is to be published exploring the hidden beauty of clouds taken by satellites. The new book titled Weather Wonders will be published later this month in conjunction with the Met Office.


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