Interactive live series focusing on Britain's weather. The team explore why Britain gets the weather it does, and how weather was crucial for the success of the D-Day landings.
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We talk about it all the time. Because it changes all the time.
And it is totally and utterly unique. Grab your brollies, hold on
to your hats and welcome to The Welcome to The Great British
Weather. We are here on Porthminster Beach in St Ives,
Cornwall, where many people have turned up. We are obsessed with the
weather. Over the next four weeks will be coming to you live across
the nation as we celebrate and investigate the wonderful weather
we have. Take this week, there was a tornado in Bognor Regis! We are
going to introduce you now to our studio. We all moan about it, we
curse it. But there's a lot a lot about the British weather. I
guarantee by the end of this hour we will all be converted. Strong
words. This is the great British Tonight, we will introduce you to
be a huge battle that goes on above our heads, which makes our weather
so incredibly changeable. We discover how the weather helped us
to win World War II. A decision had to be made. The legendary Michael
Fish joins us. Earlier a woman rang the BBC and said she heard there
was a hurricane on the way. reveal what it was like in the eye
of that storm. There's a really bad flood here! We revisit the Cornish
village devastated by 1.5 billion litres of rainwater. One of our
children were screaming, we are all going to die! And Chris goes in
search of the biggest beast in the Atlantic. It could get a bit nasty
on his boat. The ad is what is coming up later on. We are on a
mission tonight because what we want to do is completely covered
this map of the UK with weather pictures from you, pictures taken
from now until we go off air at about 8:30pm, so we can get a real
oversight of what the weather is going to be like here. Carol
Kirkwood, I am admiring your map. was up all night cutting this out.
North, south, east, west. Sandwich, I've got to go to the Open
Championship tomorrow - where is it? It's in Kent. Down a bit.
That's where I will be tomorrow morning. I want to know what the
weather is going to be like there. If you are there, take a photograph,
tell me what is going on. But if you are going to take a photograph
out of your photograph or window, send it to
[email protected] Include your name, postcode and
where you took it, but please be careful. Don't take it while
driving a car or using heavy machinery. And don't take a picture
directly into the sun. You can also join us in the conversation on
Twitter. You are telling people not to take pictures into the sun. It's
been a beautiful day all day in St Ives. Interestingly, it's been
raining in Truro, just nine miles away. Can we show you a picture of
the seagull? We were trying to get some general views this afternoon.
Shameless opportunism there. He's got a sandwich. It's been a sunny
day but it might be raining tomorrow or it could be blowing a
gale. That's the thing about British weather, it changes all the
time and you never know what it's going to do next. Welcome to Sama
2007. -- summer. This is flooding on a scale no one here can remember.
Rainfall of a Buntin just one day. Today has officially been the
hottest day of the year so far. The umbrellas are being used as
parasols. Even the indoor attractions are happy. The snowfall
here was the worst for 25 years. We've had hundreds of lorries stuck
on the roads. Forecasters tell us things will get
worse before they get better. Our unique weather is all to do
with our position on the planet. The whole of the UK just so happens
to be slap-bang under the place where four colossal air mass meat.
And air mass is an enormous lump of our atmosphere. At the service,
it's the same temperature and same humidity over thousands of square
miles. When different air mass Mead they fight for supremacy and the
one that wins dictates our measure -- weather. Ladies and gentlemen,
let the battle commence. Imagine that these guys are what the
weather mark -- boffins call the polar air mass, bringing freezing
Arctic air, sending temperatures plummeting across the UK. But
before you have the chance to put the heating on... Here comes the
tropical air mass, blazing a trail from the south, delivering warm air
from places such as North Africa and the Mediterranean. When they
clash, we get a weather front. There are a lot of places in the
world that's it and aware that tropical air mass and the polar air
mass meat. But the UK is extra- special because it also sits
between a large ocean, that's the Atlantic to the west, and a large
landmass, that Europe and Asia to the east. And that makes our
weather even more chaotic and a bit more angry. The maritime air mass -
these chaps in the blue T-shirts - suck up billions of litres of
moisture from the Atlantic Ocean. Then it travels east to dumped
torrential rain on our barbecue. Finally, to the rescue comes the
continental air mass. Cruising across the dry land up Europe and
Asia, ready to go to war with the cold, wet front. In a bid to give
us a warm, sunny day. But that is not the whole story because you've
yet to meet the big daddy of British weather. The jet stream.
That can overpower all of those guys. It's a monumental wind that
can fly across the sky at 250 mph. Powerful and determined, if the
jetstream heads north it blocks the polar and maritime air masses. And
it's party time for the tropical and continental air masses. Now
free to smother resin warmth and sunshine. Thanks to the jet stream,
we enjoyed the hottest summer on record back in 2006. We had 18
weeks of uninterrupted sun. Even Northern Ireland and Scotland had a
decent summer. But, as you'd expect, it's not always good news. If the
jetstream decides to head south, pushing back the warm, dry front,
we are in for more familiar wet and chilly conditions. And that in a
nutshell is why we have our British weather. It's unpredictable, it's
crazy, it's bonkers, but it's ours. And deep down, secretly, we love it.
I have no idea we had that going on. It explains everything. That's only
part of the story because there's a very critical part, too. Can you
hear me over the noise of the waves? The crucial part we have is
where we are positioned. We are right in between the North Pole. We
know what the weather is like there. I'm going to go with cold. Down
here we've got the equator. It's hot. We are in between. You would
think we would have a similar weather conditions to other parts
in the same latitude. Latitude, you share your climate with your
latitude friends. Yes, but in meteorology there are exceptions.
If we sweep around. On our level and come to Canada. Canada has the
Winter Olympics for a very good reason, because they get that kind
of weather. Carry on... Siberia. In Siberia, the temperature can fall
to minus 40. You have to wear a jumper! Kazakhstan there. Russia.
These are places that have sub-zero temperatures in the winter. Minus
30. But as you come back to the UK, we don't have that problem. The
reason for that is we are surrounded by the sea. Yes, did you
know that in the UK no one is more than 75 miles away from the sea.
Doesn't it look beautiful? It makes a huge difference to our weather. I
will show you that in a big experiment. I'm going to introduce
you to my crowd. Thank you for coming up. You are wondering what
we are doing. All will be made simple in a moment. I've got an
experiment. I've got two gentleman and a big freezer van. You are
saying, where are the two gentleman? They are inside. My
first volunteer is representing the UK. There he is. With his little
bowler hat on. My second volunteer is representing Kazakhstan. He is
wearing that fetching fur hat. I took their individual skin
temperatures before we went on air, of which were around 27 degrees.
That is a little bit cool but about average for a young man. I put him
into this freezer van, which is playing its part in winter in the
northern hemisphere. It's a chilly zero degrees in there. Mr UK made
himself comfortable in a bath of water on the right-hand side. Mr
Kazakhstan was in an empty bath. The UK is surrounded by water and
is slightly warmer than the temperature of the land in the
winter. The Bhoys have been in there for just over a quarter of an
hour. It's now time to reveal the results. I hope you are decent! You
were panicking there, weren't you? Would you mind coming out, Mr
Kazakhstan and Mr UK? I'm introducing my temperature gauge
person. You are? I'm Jean. Are you willing to help me out? I think so.
Have a little feel and see who is a bit colder. Yes? And how about this
chap? This one is colder. That could go against our experiment.
Could you put your arms out, I'm going to take the temperature
officially. This is Mr UK. That is 29.2 degrees. That's quite warm,
especially as he's been in a refrigerator. And Mr Kazakhstan.
Poor you. 22.8 degrees. How are you feeling? I'm pretty cold. Come and
warm yourself up against Gina. Mr UK's temperature has stayed more or
less the same because he's been surrounded by a warm water, just
like us here in Britain. Mr Kazakhstan is freezing. Off you go,
get warmed up. I meant to show you this. It's the key to Carol
Kirkwood's dressing room. She said you can warm up there any time.
can't believe you would say that, Chris! Cornwall is one of the most
popular holiday destinations in the country. It enjoys temperatures
which are a couple of degrees warmer than the rest of the UK. But
it has experienced its fair share of wild weather, and it doesn't
come much wilder than the exceptional storm of 2004, which
engulfed the small fishing village of Bosc Castle. -- Boscastle. A
picturesque village this deep in a valley. It was a nice day, a bit
like today. A few clouds about but it was sunshine. Andy Evans is on a
family holiday with his wife and three children, Karl, Luke and
Emily. The Sun have been shining, we'd had a great time, we'd been on
the beach, things were going well. In the afternoon we decided we'd go
out and explore some of the other local villagers. Boscastle was one
of the places we haven't visited before. But the good weather isn't
holding. And about 11 o'clock, that's when it started raining, the
clouds started building up. That was the start of it. In the high
ground above the village an unusually wet summer had left the
one -- left the land waterlogged. The huge amount of rain water has
only one way to go. I stood on the bridge and the water was black. I
have never seen the river that anything like that. The Evans
family arrive in Boscastle, park their car and head straight for
somewhere out of the rain. We went into the visitors' centre and
literally a few minutes later somebody came in to say that the
river had burst its banks. Peter Templar's restaurant is right on
the river's edge. It started coming into the base of the kitchen, which
is when I have to vacate the whole of the restaurant and ask people to
get out. The raging waters have now overwhelmed the narrow streets of
the village and there is no way out. You don't realise the amount of
danger we were in. That water level was rising and rising and rising.
It was taking everything in its path. It was then that the first
car came down and hit the bridge, the red one. There's a really bad
blood and people are getting injured. We need some emergency
57 miles away the Royal Navy Air Service get the call. The rain was
that heavy, it was flooding the back of the aircraft. There was
poor visibility and lightning was going off above us. It was
somewhere you don't want to be in an aircraft. The crew arrived 15
minutes later. So much debris - there were phone boxes floating
past. That was followed by vehicles. The flood is declared a major
incident. Every available emergency helicopter is now on its way. But
in the visitors' centre, time is running out for Andy and his family.
We climbed up into the attic space. Shortly afterwards, the glass door
did smash. It was holding back a huge force of water at that point.
We got this call, "Save who you can" and you get that cold shiver
that there's serious chance that will be a loss of life. Andy, his
wife and three kids had been huddled in the attic for a few
minutes. Suddenly, a massive tree hit the building and most of the
building, bar what we were in, collapsed. It was like a bomb going
off. One of our children was screaming, "We are all going to
die!" We were saying, "No, we are going to be fine." Deep down, we
were beginning to think, "Are we going to get out?" With the
building crumbling, the family had been forced on to the roof.
Freezing cold, soaking wet. Just hanging on for dear life. Then
suddenly, the Navy helicopter appeared and hovered above us and
it was quite clear that they were here to rescue us. We had to get
them off. My concern was this building was going to collapse.
remember just counting our children up thinking that is one safe,
that's two safe, that's three safe. Before we know it, we have 15
people in the aircraft. There's people everywhere. The crew were
amazing. They all risked their own lives that day. They are heroes.
When you looked at the scale of it, you felt there had to be a fatality
somewhere. Someone had to be in one of those cars or washed-away.
millimetres of rain fell sending 1 bpbt 5 billion Lee terse of flood -
- 1.5 billion litres of floodwater crashing on to the streets. This is
Remarkable pictures. Pictures that you never really get over. What's
confusing me is we are used to rain in the UK. How did that happen?
There were a lot of contributing things that happened at once. First,
the weather hadn't been good beforehand so the ground was
already saturated. Then on that day, we had a convergence line form, so
we had wind coming from one direction, wind coming from another,
they bumped into each other and that built great big thunder clouds
and they deposited a lot of rain in one area for four hours. The other
half of the story is the geography. Boscastle is at the bottom of a
valley and it's a steep valley. So it was raining in Boscastle,
raining on the hills. The rain on the hills had to come down these
narrow gullies. If you think of a funnel, if you pour water in, it
comes gushing out from the bottom. This water came pouring down, the
riverbanks burst and caused the devastation we have seen. No-one
was hurt. I want to introduce you to a survivor. You probably saw him
in the VT. Peter, you are looking very smooth here on the beach.
have to be. You do. Are you over it now? Is it still in the back of
your mind? Not really. We spent I would say nine months in temporary
accommodation, four weeks of that was with our son-in-laws and it
took us 12 months to get back to normality, that is opening the
business and getting on with trade. Is this your beautiful wife? She is
35 years. Congratulations. Do you have nightmares about it? No.
have moved on? Life is great? It is back to being the jewel in
the crown of Boscastle. It is a wonderful place to live and it is a
beautiful place to visit. Thank you very much indeed. Thank you - give
them a round of applause. APPLAUSE I want to introduce you to some of
the crowd. Look at these lovely faces. Hello. Have you had a lovely
day? Yeah. Whafrpblgts have you been doing? -- What have you been
doing? I went to school. Never mind. You all right over here, gang?
Yes! Good. I'm so - look at this face. She is responsible for this
lot. I know! Poor old her. You are responsible for us! Alexander?
shadows are lengthening here as the sun goes down. You can see it
twinkling away behind us. Now our website
bbc.co.uk/greatbritishweather has been live since yesterday and
already loads of people have been in touch and have sent some
fantastic weather pictures in. Adrian has sent this picture of a
rainbow. "My sister and I were walking to a section of Hadrian's
Wall in Northumberland." Nicola Bolton has sent this picture in of
fog. Look at that. Beautiful. Taken in the countryside near her home in
Chorley. John has sent this picture of a rare cloud form. He says that
was taken at 12.15am in Fort William on the west coast of
Scotland. We will be doing clouds next week of course. How is your
map coming along, Carol? Slowly. I'm glad to hear you mention Fort
William. That is my stomping ground. You can see how very slowly we are
building up a picture of what the weather is like across the UK. Now,
I want to hear from you what it is going to be like or what it is like
where you are now. This is from Andrew in Exeter. That is a
beautiful picture. Lovely. So some dark clouds. Let's whack that on.
Hi, Chris. I'm here to help! Live telly! Pictures are falling off! I
like a man that knows his place! This one is in Norwich. Over your
side. I know where Norwich is. last one is from Matthew in
Coventry. Another beautiful one. Chris, do you want to stick that
on? Yes. Keep your pictures coming in and don't let your region down.
You can see that we are missing much of Scotland, Northern Ireland,
we want you to send them in, too. By the end of this hour, we want to
cover this map completely. So e- mail your pictures to us at
[email protected] Remember to include your name, your
postcode and also where you took the picture. Can we have a few
faces in there? If you are having a barbecue tonight, send it in. Let's
see what you are cooking with the weather in the background.
Especially if will is a miserable upset dad in the rain! We have had
a great story. Katy has contacted us. I love this. She says she will
never complain about the British weather again. Why? Last winter she
was driving on the ice roads when her Mini bumped into another car.
Ahh! It is good. She expected to be in big trouble but turned out the
driver was really nice and now she's engaged to him. Why does that
never happen to me?! She also says she is a looker! I'm going to pay
for that one! Now, maybe you have a fantastic weather story. Did your
dog rescue you in the middle of a blizzard? Or maybe you live in the
sunniest place in the UK which is where? Eastbourne. Could be. We
have a debate. Help me, Alexander. Thank you very much. If weather has
such an influence on all our lives, it is hardly surprising it's played
a pivotal role in shaping our history.
In 1944, the Nazis occupied much of mainland Europe. Five years into
the Second World War, Hitler's forces still posed a huge threat to
the UK. If the Germans were ever going to be defeated the British,
American and Allied Forces had no choice but to invade Northern
France and force back the German troops amassed just over 100 miles
from British shores. The invasion was essential to the success of our
campaign against the Nazis and by extension to freeing Europe and
turning Europe into the place it is today, a place of free democracy,
free political will and choice. invasion involved 156,000 men
sailing across the English Channel, landing on the shores of Normandy
to invade through Northern France. However, if the invasion was going
to be a success, the weather would have to play a key role.
weather conditions required for D- Day to be a success were complex.
They needed a whole series of circumstances to come together. So
the timing of the invasion was crucial. They needed cloud cover no
lower than 3,000 feet for the operations. They needed visibility
of at least three miles. They needed high tides so they could
float over the German beach defences. The man charged with
predicting these weather conditions was 43-year-old James Stagg,
reporting directly to the Supreme Allied Commander General Eisenhower.
James Stagg was the senior meteorologist who had been
commissioned as a Group Captain in the Royal Air Force, he was a
weather expert. It was his job to head up the teams that forecast the
weather for the invasion. Stagg was based at Southwick House in
Hampshire, alongside Eisenhower. From here, the key decisions
surrounding D-Day were made. Alison Gregory worked in the operations
room throughout this time. perfectly certain that the job that
Group Captain Stagg did was vital to the whole operation. So much
depended on that poor man. pressure on Group Captain Stagg was
immense. He knew the decision on whether to invade or not to invade
would be based on his meteorological advice and with
156,000 troops on standby, many lives were at stake. I had long had
at the back of my mind the tactical use of weather just to be able to
pick out some interlude which would be unknown to the enemy forces that
would allow us to make use of it and catch the people on the other
side unawares. But weather forecasting in 1944 was not nearly
as advanced as it is now. It was as much of an art as a science. They
did use data from weather ships. What they did not have is the sort
of satellites, the weather satellites that we have today so as
I say, weather forecasting involved a certain amount of gut instinct as
well as a considerable amount of technical skill. Stagg knew that
the next right tide and moonlight conditions to launch an invasion
would be between the 5th and 7th June but the weather was looking
atrocious. The rain was pelting down. The wind was blowing. It was
unimaginable. It must have been frightful for all the senior
officers having to work out what on earth to do. But then Stagg saw a
glimmer of hope. After receiving data from a single weather ship in
the Atlantic, he spotted that a short period of high pressure
looked like it was moving in from the south-east. He was able based
on that data to predict a short break in the weather on the morning
of the 6th June. It didn't mean the just meant that he thought it was
going to be good enough. There's a big difference. Based on this
information, Stagg took the momentous decision to advise
Eisenhower to invade. The whole operation was in suspense and
everyone in that room knew that within a very few hours now a
decision had to be made. Eisenhower took Stagg at his word and launched
the attack. At 11.30 the captain told us that we were leaving to go
to Normandy to liberate Europe. Stagg was wrong, hundreds of
thousands of troops could be lost in rough seas. We all understood
that this is it, you know. It was imminent. As the fleet set across
the Channel, all Stagg and Eisenhower could do was hope that
they were right. People of Western Europe, a landing was made this
morning on the coast of France by troops of the Allied Expeditionary
Force. Stagg's prediction that there would be this crucial break
in the weather was correct. For around ten hours on that historic
day, the cloud cover was perfect for the aerial assault, visibility
was right for the Naval gunnery and the rising tides enabled the
landing crafts to sail over the German beach defences. When we knew
the landing was successful, it was absolutely wonderful. Absolutely
thrilled to bits. How the hell our boys landed on this beach, I'll
never, never ever know. Only God above can say miracles happened
that day. They got there and did a wonderful job. I feel privileged to
be part of it. That one man, James Stagg, his weather forecasts given
to General Eisenhower with his advice made the invasion possible
and began the process that ended That's incredibly moving. It is.
You realise the responsibility on one man. He said, you know what, I
feel this is the right day. If he'd got it wrong, history would have
been changed. A lot of Germans had been told to stand down because
they thought it was so unlikely there be any invasion under those
conditions. So the UK got it right. A man we are going to meet now have
that responsibility almost every single day. Who are we talking
about? Have a look at this. Good evening, a very mixed weekend. The
prevailing south-westerly wind. years of forecasting. So shine and
showers everywhere. 40 years on television. Over 10,000 broadcasts.
The weather looks as though it's going to turn... Four times
national Tyre man of the year. The longest serving TV meteorologist.
Michael Fish. Ladies and gentlemen, a fish called Michael. Michael Fish.
Welcome. I commend you on your fine neckwear there. What started your
Paston -- passion for meteorology? A I'm not sure. I look as if I'm so
young but believe it or not, it was quite a long time ago. There were
some really good Masters I had at school with physics or geography.
It could be that we have that horrendous storm in the early 50s
that killed nearly 2000 people in Britain and Holland. That perhaps
sowed the seeds to get my interest going. When did you joined the Met
Office? It was a very good year for the Met Office because in 1962 they
had their first numerical forecast on a computer, and I joined them.
Fantastic. What is your favourite story that you tell about your
events and action in the Met Office? We have the mouse story. We
also have an occasion when I got locked out of the office and Mr
broadcast because the door handle fell off. There was also this
occasion when we were just about to go live on air at 6:30pm. I noticed
this mouse running around the studio. A lady news reader was not
100 % happy, so I popped it in my pocket, did the broadcast...
are a man of iron! I was very good because I then released into the
Blue Peter garden. I want to show you pictures of Michael Fish in
dynamic form. Look at that. If only I looked like that again. Well,
sort of looked like that again. What was the story behind this -
Ejide? No, when I used to do Breakfast News in the good old days,
that was the standard sort of kit. We wore jumpers. People used to
make them and send their men. That's just one of them. They
shrink, that's the problem. I can't get them on any more.
definitely going to wear that on TV the next time. What's your
favourite Meteorological memory? will gloss over one event. I don't
know if you are thinking of 1987. The best person to ask his Bill
Giles, he was on duty that evening. What I always say is when the
forecast is right and when it's a good forecast, it's my forecast.
And when it's wrong and an awful forecast, it's the computers
forecast. Shall we look back at that moment you are talking about?
It might have been the moment I was referring to. Earlier on today a
woman rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the
way. If you are watching, don't worry, there isn't. Having said
that, the weather will become very windy but most of the strong winds
will be over Spain and across into France. The Spanish and French got
a good warning. You knew about it. The unfortunate thing was the
computer got it right five days before. As it got nearer and nearer
it wandered slightly off the course. Unfortunately, on the night before
it got it 100 miles or so out. If we'd gone on the forecast from five
days before on the Sunday, it would have been 100 % right. Does
everybody in your street do what they do with Carol? What is the
weather going to be like? Every second of the day. You got it wrong
again. It's your fault. I get people hitting me with umbrellas.
They hit you! Yes! Not on this programme. They look friendly. Are
you friendly? Yes! We are going to set you a challenge a bit later on.
Weather forecasting is now a billion-pound business, but long
before we had weather ships, farmers and sailors still needed to
know what the weather was going to do. They relied upon tips and
wisdom passed down through the generations. I was chatting earlier
on to Bridgette and Steve, they are local farmers. What weather rule do
you stick by? Mackerel sky, not long wet, not long drive. Rain
before seven, fine by 11. If the swallows fly high, it's going to be
tried. It's raining cats and dogs. It never rains but it pours. These
are all really good. What about the rest of them, are any of them true?
Each week, our meteorologist Tomasz Schafernaker is investigating a
proverb. A mighty kicks off with the one we've all heard of. --
denied he kicks off. Red sky at night. Shepherd's delight. Red sky
in the morning. Shepherd's warning. Red sky at night. Shepherd's
delight. It's one of the earliest examples of weather forecasts we
have. It's even mentioned in the Bible. I've come to the Cumbrian
fells to discover whether raw not it's actually true. A really good
feeling, it's going to be a beautiful sunset tonight. We might
just get the red sky that I'm hoping for. We are getting that
beautiful yellow tinge in the sky. But stunning as this Cumbrian
sunset is, it might not delight in Shepherd. At the moment it looks
absolutely beautiful. It but this still isn't the classic red sky at
night. It's not this guy that's red here, it's the low-lying cloud that
is illuminated by the setting sun. But it should still allow me to
test the old theory in reverse. We've woken up to pretty grisly,
cold, cloudy weather. It's no surprise that this morning isn't
clear. I'm still in search of a classic red sky. I want to
understand why it might forecast good weather. Rachel Marston is a
modern-day shepherd who swears by this primitive method of
forecasting. Rachel, you run a really successful farm here, you've
got nearly 2000 sheep. How important is it for you to know
what weather is coming your way? It's really important as farmers.
On a hill farm like this, in the winter we need to know if it's
going to snow, we need to bring the sheep in. In the summer, if there's
a red sky in the night then we know it's going to be a good day the day
after. It's a sign of a good spell of weather. So every time you get a
red sky at night, the next day the weather is brilliant? More-or-less.
But more or less doesn't quite cut it for a meteorologist like me. So
I'm putting this ancient proverb to the test by enlisting two Junior
weather watchers. Rachel's daughters, Abigail and Catherine.
What we are going to do is each time you see a red sky you are
going to get us to go like this and put it on one of these days. You
are going to record each time you have a red sky. According to your
mum, every time we get a red sky, the next day is beautiful and sunny.
So if it's nice and sunny you put the sunshine on there, if it's
cloudy you stick a cloud on there. That way, we are going to find out
if mum is right. Are you ready? And it turns out it won't be long
before we have our first test. As I'm leaving, this guy I've been
waiting. To appear. -- the sky. We are in for a stunning sunset. The
red light is travelling deep through the atmosphere at a low
angle. This is a proper red sky. Sunlight is made up of many colours
which all travel in a different way. Only the red light reaches us when
the sun is setting up such a low angle. There are several reasons
why a red sky might mean a good day tomorrow. The simplest one is
because red light is meeting us from the West, the skies to the
West are clear. As most of our weather fronts come from the West,
clear skies mean a fair weather. It's this guy that glows with that
beautiful orange and sometimes deep red, pink colour. That's what we
are interested in for red sky at night, shepherd's delight. I have
to see what Abigail and Catherine come back with. Wasn't that
beautiful? I'm joined by Tomasz, Rachel, Catherine and Abigail.
Abigail, can I come to you first? We saw the beautiful sunset there.
What was the weather like the next day? It was really nice and hot.
the theory is working so far. This is the chart we asked you to fill
out. Can you tell me what was going on here? We had to record when it
was a red sky at night and red sky in the morning. Red sky at night
there. Next day - lovely. And red sky in the morning followed by...
bad day. Tomasz, what's the red sky in the morning? You come up with
lots of interpretations. As a meteorologist, the way I understand
it is a red sky in the morning means this. Imagine that the sun
rising in the east. It's illuminating the other side of the
sky in the West with a beautiful red colour, the clouds are coming
in. Those clouds may be an indication of an approaching
weather front. You have the sun in one side of the sky and red clouds
on the other side of the sky. That is the warning for the shepherd
that there might be rain on the way. The difference for this one is we
are searching for red clouds. The one in the evening is the actor
Paul red, blowing up skies. -- the red, blowing it skies. Thank you
for coming to join us. You look absolutely gorgeous tonight,
Abigail. Next week, Tomasz will be investigating when carols lie-down.
Does it mean it's going to rain? -- When cows lie down. Here are
Alexander and Carol, who should know what they're talking about.
Any pictures? No red sky but we've got some wonderful pictures.
Anthony has sent this in of fantastic cloud. We will be doing
clouds next week. Look at this from Mark, there's a rainbow cloud here.
That is gorgeous. A rainbow cloud, that was taken in Chichester. Ian
from Newcastle-upon-Tyne has sent in this. That is a son halo. That's
gorgeous. It's the light refracting through the clouds that leads to it.
Let's have a look at the map. We haven't been to it recently to see
how it is doing. It's looking a lot healthier this time. Lots of
pictures coming in. Lots of interesting ones as well. It's very
much like the middle section of England into Wales is looking
cloudy. But in the north of the country there are beautiful, blue
skies. Very similar to here in St Ives. Isn't this gorgeous? This is
from Jeff in Merseyside. That looks gorgeous. Itself the evening sun.
If you haven't got in touch yet, hurry up. You've got about 10
minutes to get your pictures on the map. We are lacking them across
Scotland, north-west England and Northern Ireland. Whilst Alexander
and I have been working our socks off here, where his Chris? He's
having a cream tea! You caught me then. I am having a Cornish tea,
but they is a good reason. Cornish cream comes from Cornwall but I'm
also washing it down with tea from Cornwall. That's right. Tea from
Cornwall. They is a plantation in Cornwall. I'm going to show you
something else. Look at these palm trees. You are saying, that is
impossible in Cornwall! But it's all about the climate we get around
here. The palm trees are sprinkled all up the west coast. So something
must bring a touch of the tropics to the UK. I tell you what it is.
Cornwall has almost 400 miles of coastline - more than any other
county in the UK. And channelling its way towards that coastline is
the largest ocean current in the world - the Gulf Stream. It's the
reason why this sea is home to some of the most diverse marine life on
the planet. For me, one of the greatest creatures of them all is
the basking shark. The second biggest fish in the world. The
largest can weigh up to seven tonnes and grow up to we colossal
12 metres long, the same length and weight as a double-decker bus. And,
if you came across one in these waters you'd be greeted with a
smile Anita 1/2 in diameter! So today I'm going shark hunting. When
I say shark hunting, I'm looking for sharks. The only reassuring
fact about these monsters of the deep is that despite their huge
numbers off the Cornish coast, they are incredibly difficult to spot.
They came early this year. We had our first sighting in March, so we
know that they have already arrived. We've just got to wait and see if
we can see them today. But what does the Gulf Stream do to attract
these shy and retiring giants? Well, it's a story that starts in the
Caribbean. The Gulf Stream is actually an enormous current
carrying 100 times more water than every river on earth. It begins its
journey north along the coast of America, travelling 60 miles per
day and swelling to one kilometre deep and 100 kilometres wide. When
it's warm waters meet the cold North Atlantic, a current friend is
created. This turns up the seabed, throwing up nutrients, attracting
What is plankton? The first type is phyto plankton. These are plants
that live in the water. They are eaten by the tiny animals known as
zoo plankton. There's some here. The zoo plankton are eaten by
bigger zoo plankton. I can see them moving about. Eventually the sharks
will be feeding on these. This is what they want to get out of the
water, the larger zoo plankton. It's these tiny organisms in the
waters off the coast of Cornwall that attract the world's second
biggest fish and the basking shark will consume a staggering 30
kilograms of them every day. But two hours into our search, it
doesn't seem to be feeding time. They are right down below, are
they? They are here all the time. They are down deep so we need the
surface water to calm so the plankton can congregate to the
surface and that is when the sharks will come up to feed. So we head in
search of calmer waters and a little local knowledge. Hello, Sir.
You haven't seen any sharks? I have seen two. Today? Three weeks' ago.
He's seen them here but three weeks' ago. This search is going to
depend on the good old-fashioned British weather. It is nice and
warm now, but it is a bit choppy. We need the water to be very calm.
Gary says it will be windy later on so it could get a bit nasty on this
boat. These winds also benefit from the Gulf Stream. Its waters reach
25 degrees Celsius as they leave the Caribbean and these warm waters
heat up the strong south-westerly winds as they travel across the
Atlantic meaning the UK is delivered warm air as well as warm
water and without this warm water and air, our winters would be
several degrees colder and Cornwall wouldn't enjoy the mildest and
sunniest climate in the UK. The sun is going down, it is not looking
good? No. These are shy creatures and I don't think the weather
helped us. It is nice and sunny now. But it was choppy early on. It is
still quite windy? Let's blame it on the weather! How big is a
basking shark? The size of a double-decker bus. You didn't find
one? No. Have you seen how big the ocean is? It is like finding a
needle in a haystack. Are you enjoying the lovely warm water?
am. If anyone out there has been luckier than Chris and spotted a
basking shark, please let us know. We have seen how weather can affect
us on a national scale. Sometimes you have to go a bit smaller.
Weather can be surprisingly local at times. The United Kingdom has a
landscape that is not only spectacular but also incredibly
varied. And whilst it is stunning to behold, what is more remarkable
is how our changing scenery changes our weather. This diversity gives
rise to microclimates which are local atmospheric zones where the
weather differs from the surrounding area. They can be as
small as a window box or as larges a city. These microclimates can be
significantly warmer or colder or foggier or windier than areas right
beside them. The microclimates of our nation's large towns and cities
are known as urban heat islands and it is the man-made landscape that
is causing them. Densely-packed buildings act like a giant storage
heater absorbing heat and radiating it back out. Ensuring that cities
like London can be up to ten degrees warmer than their
surrounding areas. But while you might assume the coldest place in
the UK is hundreds of miles north, one night last winter it was in
fact just outside the M25. I'm in Buckinghamshire. You tend to find
them in valleys and dips. The reason for that is cold air is
heavier than warm air. So the cold air descends down the valley and
that allows the temperatures to plummet. Blizzards and widespread
ice in many parts of the UK are causing severe disruption...
15th December 2010 the lowest temperature in the British Isles
was in a tiny frost hollow. There have been record low temperatures...
A reading of minus 19.6 Celsius was recorded in Chesham,
Buckinghamshire, by Michael Duke. Chesham has a fantastic
microclimate? It does. What is unique about it? The geology here
is very important. We are in a chalk valley. It lets the rain seep
through it so the soil tends to be drier and drier ground loses heat
more effectively than wet ground. If you have no cloud, the heat goes
up into space. If the wind is blowing, that cold air gets blown
out of the way. If you can block off the wind, you will get some
really low temperatures. Up-and- down the country, amateur
meteorologists attempt to chart the huge number of microclimates that
exist in the UK. Cold night-time air can flow into the shallow
valley below us. When it snows here, a mile or two down the road there
is hardly anything on the ground. On some winter's day it can be rain
ing at one part of the village, but snowing in another part. I'm here
at a different microclimate. I'm at an award-winning vineyard which is
basked in sunny and warm conditions. This vineyard sits in a classic
example of what is known as a dry upland microclimate. It is warmer
than neighbouring areas in the summer by up to three degrees,
receiving 11% less rainfall each year than the regional average and
it is 2% cooler in the winter. particular location just south of
Oxford has a very good microclimate. We are 160 feet above sea-level. We
are sheltered on all sides. The Chiltern hills to the north-east,
the Cotswolds to the north-west and the North Downs to the south. All
of which give an effect that as the rain approaches, it dissipates over
the hills and we get a lighter shower so all in all it produces a
very good climate. So thanks to microclimates within a journey of
50 miles the great British weather experiences man-made highs, record-
breaking lows and perfect conditions for creating something
to toast it with. Cheers. It was a dirty job but
somebody had to do it! You get champagne, you get cream teas. I
get wet! Wasn't that Gulf Stream warm? Wasn't it just! Someone
switched it off. It is nearly the end of the show and loads of you
have been getting in touch with us. You will love this. "I proposed to
my girlfriend in a storm 21 years ago. I was knelt in the road and we
were both soaked. Storms are my favourite weather." That is so
romantic. "I hope it is beautiful in St Ives next week because that
is where we are going on our hols." Beautiful tonight in Tyne and Wear
as well. The map of course has been shaping up. We have hundreds of
your pictures coming in from across the country showing us what the
weather has been like over the last hour. Why don't we have a wee look?
So, this is our final look at the map. Wow! It is looking good. You
know what we want now. We will be doing this for the next three weeks,
every Wednesday, send in your weather pictures so we can get a
good look at the weather. Now, again, across the middle part, we
have mixed weather. We have a bit of cloud, some sunshine as well.
Wow, look at this. Gorgeous! Some cars there, the sun. Cloud starting
to build. This is a lovely one. Where is this? This one is from
Kenny and it is Stirling. That is a lovely evening. Keep your pictures
coming in. They have been fantastic. Check out our website over the next
week as your picture may have made it into our gallery. That is about
it for tonight. Next week we are coming to you live from glorious
Ullswater in the Lake District. Our subject, Lake District, what do we
think? Could it be something to do with rain? And lots of it! Yes.
Carol is going where no weather presenter has gone before - into
the heart of an enormous cloud. is very scary. I'm still too scared
to look down. Oh gosh! That was petrifying. I was not acting in
that. I have never done anything so scary. We were 5,000 feet up
amongst the clouds. 5,000 feet?! Normally, when you are that height
up, you have a lovely great big aeroplane around you. A drink of
champagne if I know you! We will be going to the wettest place in the
UK? That's right. We are going to see a lovely family that enjoys 211
days of rain every year. The Lake District is beautiful. We will be
there. I want to say, can we have a look around? Are you having a good
time? ALL: Yes! Have you enjoyed yourselves tonight? ALL: Yes.
of you ought to go to the chemists and get some aftersun. There is a
few red noses there. As we have just said, next week we will be
celebrating clouds so send us your cloud shots and we will showcase
some of them on next week's show. You can go to our website where
there is a fantastic cloud-spotting guide and you can find out how to
make your own rain gauge. Chris, you were keen on doing that?
getting into this! One more thing to do. No-one gets a free lunch
around here. Could you have a stab at the weather next week in the
Lake District and we are recording it! I haven't the faintest idea!
There is probably going to be a hurricane, tornado, snowstorm, a
plague of locusts. Anything like that. Seriously, that... That is
called covering your back! It will probably be wet and windy. We will
Presented by Alexander Armstrong, Carol Kirkwood and Chris Hollins, the first show in this series comes from St Ives in Cornwall, with a live audience and guests including veteran weather presenter Michael Fish.
We will be exploring why Britain gets the endlessly variable weather that it does. Also, how was weather crucial for the success of the D Day Landings? Chris Hollins goes in search of the world's second largest fish, the basking shark.