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GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE

 

It has been claimed that the British love of compromise is the result of the country’s physical geography. This may or may not be true, but it is certainly true that the land and climate in Britain have a notable lack of extremes. Britain has mountains, but none of them are very high; it also has flat land, but you cannot travel far without encountering hills; it has no really big rivers; it doesn’t usually get very cold in the winter or very hot in the summer.

The climate in Britain is more or less the same as that of the north-western part of the European mainland. The popular belief that it rains all the time in Britain is simply not true. The image of a wet, foggy land was created two thousand years ago by the invading Romans and was perpetuated in the twentieth century by Hollywood. In fact, London gets no more rain in a year than most other major European cities, and less than some.

Annual total precipitation (rainfall or snow) in some European cities:

Milan - 1000 mm

Rome - 750 mm

Lisbon – 700 mm

Moscow – 650 mm

Madrid – 450 mm

Athens – 400 mm

 

Why has Britain’s climate got such a bad reputation? Perhaps it is for the same reason that British people always seem to be talking about the weather. That is its changeability. There is a saying that Britain doesn’t have a climate, it only has weather. It may not rain very much altogether, but you can never be sure of a dry day; there can be cool (even cold) days in July and some quite warm days in January.

The lack of extremes is the reason why, on the few occasions when it gets genuinely hot or freezing cold, the country seems to be totally unprepared for it. A bit of snow or a few days of frost and the trains stop working and roads are blocked; if the thermometer goes above 80˚F (27˚C), people behave as if they were in the Sahara and the temperature makes front-page headlines.

On 10 August 2003, a temperature of 37.9˚C (100.2˚F) was recorded at Heathrow airport just outside London. It was the first time in British history that the temperature had passed the 100˚F mark. Since that day, temperatures of more than 100˚F have been recorded several times in several different places in Britain. People have become generally aware of climate change. In Britain there seem to be three trends (1) like the rest of Europe, temperatures are generally rising; (2) the difference between the warmer, drier south-east and the cooler, wetter north-west is becoming more pronounced; (3) extreme weather conditions are becoming more frequent.

Britain has neither towering mountain ranges nor impressive large rivers, plains or forests. What it lacks in grandeur it makes up for in variety. The scenery changes noticeably over quite short distances. Overall, the south and east of the country are comparatively low-lying, consisting of either flat plains or gently rolling hills. Mountainous areas are found only in the north and west.

 


Date: 2015-01-12; view: 1782


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A HOLIDAY IN GREAT BRITAIN | HUMAN INFLUENCE
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