Britain And The Weather: Why It’s A Big Deal

Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 01.41.37Crack open the Pimms and spark up the BBQ because the sun is shining! Britain is basking in glorious sunshine, with clear blue skies and temperatures soaring up to and over 30 degrees! It’s been this nice for three consecutive days. A whole, entire weekend and then some! This is a big deal! Brits are known for conversing about the weather a lot, but there is  reason for that. This article looks at why a good summer day is seized with desperation and why it’s such a popular talking point.

Turbulent Weather And The Jet Stream

Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 02.44.18This is a very brief and over simplified explanation as I am not a meteorologist, but should help clarify. Britain’s turbulent weather is often caused by the fact that the island is directly under the jet stream. The jet stream is a band of very strong winds which flow around the planet from the tropics to the arctic. It travels at around 100MPH and is caused when  two air temperature gradients clash, or, in more simple terms, when hot air meets cold. When two air gradients of different temperatures and/or densities meet, the resulting pressure change (which causes wind) is highest within the transition zone – the area below, in this case, the UK. Land disturbs the pressures which is why changes can happen. The resulting wind doesn’t flow directly from the hot to the cold area, but is deflected and flows along the edge of the two air types. If the cold air is dominant, then Britain will be overcast and windy. If the hot air is dominant, we see a rise on temperature and sunshine. You see how good and bad weather can be easily swept up in a jet stream and impact the countries that lay under its path. With the jet stream pushing in weather from around the world over the UK, we can experience a multitude of the good, the bad and the down right ugly. This is why our weather is so unpredictable and varied. you can read a more in depth and scientific explanation about the jet stream and how it works here.

Why We Love The Sun

To put things simply, we don’t see the mysterious glowing sky orb very often. We’re an island that is more prone to rain, drizzle, fog, floods, clouds and damp miserable conditions. Throw in the odd gail, hail storm and monsoon and you have a complete picture. When the sun actually battles its way out from a heavy blanket of cloud, we can’t help but get excited and immediately hit the beach to enjoy it. If you live in a country that is usually sunny or is known to have hot summers, you take it for granted, but when you reside in a place which is notorious for awful weather, it becomes a novelty and a joy. We revel in its heat, we enjoy the attractions that only the sun can bring out; the beach, tanning, ice-cream, fairs, candy floss, arcades, wild life, handsome topless men… the list goes on! Never knowing what sort of summer you are going to have year by year, means you appreciate the good days as much as you can, and be sure to tell the world about it.

A National Talking Point

With anything that people enjoy, talking about it incessantly becomes a past time. It’s human nature to discuss or reference things of importance or interest, and because UK weather is so erratic, it becomes one of these points. You can have a day of glorious sunshine then wake up the day after to a storm and a temperature which has plummeted 17 degrees in a few hours. Although storms are common place with heat, this sort of weather pattern means you drop the warmth and just get the rain and cold. The two never seem to go hand in hand. You would think that we would be used to such weather now, the fact you can’t tell what will happen from day to day should not be a surprise, yet it always seems to be. When it’s sunny we can’t believe our luck so chatter excitedly on about it with a huge grin slapped across our face. When it’s cold, we are resentful and annoyed, so moan about it. When we go to other countries, the weather is always better and so we talk about how jealous we are and how we don’t we get it at home. We can’t help it, its part of our national heritage. It’s pretty much in our DNA to talk about it. Here’s a little video for you to enjoy, it’s not to be taken too seriously!


Hopefully you have some basic idea of why Britain gets such varied weather and why a good summer is always such a talking point when you understand that this tiny nation never really gets a good sunny summer. You may laugh at us for always banging on about the weather, but it is something that pleases us to talk about. We like to be happy when it’s hot, we like to moan when it’s raining, and with such temperamental weather, it’s easy to talk about it non stop. If you ever meet a Brit, be it in the UK or not, be sure to expect a comment about the weather. Just smile, it’s easier to humour us.

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