To what extent is the climate of the British Isles a product of the air masses that affect it? (40 marks)
The British Isles are a group of islands located off the north-western coast of continental Europe. The climate is usually considered to be temperate maritime; however, the weather is very changeable from place to place and from time to time. Air masses greatly affect the weather experienced in the British Isles and therefore, its climate. An air mass is a body of air with uniform levels of temperature, humidity and pressure acquired from prolonged contact in its source region. Despite having an effect on British climate, there are other factors which play major roles and need to be considered.
Much of the weather that the British
…show more content…
This ribbon of air can flow at speeds of up to 200mph and, despite being around 5-7 miles high in the atmosphere, has very significant effects on the UK’s weather. The winds leaving the stream are rapidly diverging, creating low pressure in the tropopause. Air from the surface rises up to replace this air, leaving low pressure at the surface. It is this process that also helps in the explosive cyclogenesis that forms large depressions. The depressions are carried via the Jet Stream towards the UK as it flows from east over the Atlantic. These depressions are a major feature of the UK’s climate, as they bring wet, windy and stormy conditions typical of many a winter’s day. The Jet Stream is key in determining which air mass affects us, as it meanders north and south over Britain, allowing warmer air masses to dominate as it moves north and colder air masses to dominate as it moves south. The air masses and their influences on the climate of the British Isles are tied in to the Jet Stream very closely, as both the Jet Stream and the air masses affect each other.
With all this said, it is important to remember that the air masses and their impacts would not affect the British Isles at all, if it were not for the UK’s geographical location on the planet. The location also plays a key role in some of the climatic features of the British Isles. The UK is