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Climate and Weatherin Great Britain Weather is not the same asclimate. The weather at a place is the state of the atmosphere there at a giventime or over a short period. The weather of the British Isles is greatlyvariable.The climate of a place or region, on the other hand, represents theaverage weather conditions over a long period of time.The climate of any place results from the interaction of a number ofdetermining

factors, of which the most important are latitude, distance fromthe sea, relief and the direction of the prevailing winds.Thegeographical position of the British Isles within latitudes 50o to 60o N is a basic factor in determining the maincharacteristics of the climate. Temperature, the most important climatic element, depends not onlyon the angle at which the sun s rays strike the earth s surface, but also onthe duration of daylight.

The length of day at London ranges from 16 hours 35minutes on June to 7 hours 50 minutes on 21 December. British latitudes formthe temperate nature of the British climate, for the sun is never directlyoverhead as in the tropical areas.Britain sclimate is dominated by the influence of the sea. It is much milder than thatin any other country in the same latitudes.

This is due partly to the presenceof the North Atlantic Drift, or the Gulf Stream, and partly to the fact thatnorth-west Europe lies in a predominantly westerly wind-belt. This means thatmarine influences warm the land in winter and cool in summer. This moderatingeffect of the sea is in fact, the cause of the relatively small seasonalcontrasts experienced

in Britain. Themoderating effect of the ocean on air temperature is also stronger in winterthan in summer. When the surface water is cooler than the air above it as frequently happens during the summermonths the air tends to lose itsheat to the water. The lowest layers of air are chilled and become denser bycontradiction, and the chilled air tends to remain at low levels. The surfacewater expands because it is warmed, and remains on the surface of the ocean.

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