What is convection?

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Convection is the process whereby hotter, less dense parcels of air rise and colder, denser parcels sink resulting in the transfer of heat. Convection can occur in both liquids and gases and is a major factor in the weather. Convection occurs in both moist and dry atmospheres as well as in the oceans and plays an important role in determining the weather. Continue reading

Flying a helicopter over London?

Following discussions with the CAA, we were asked to generate a new forecast product designed specifically for helicopters operating over London’s controlled airspace. The driver for this was a safety recommendation in the AAIB (Air Accidents Investigation Branch) report issued following the Vauxhall helicopter crash in 2013. Continue reading

A different perspective on climate change- how changes in our climate may affect aviation

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The link goes both ways

When most people hear the words ‘climate change’ and ‘aviation’ in one sentence, they tend to think of the impacts that the aviation industry has on anthropogenic (human-induced) climate change. However, at the Met Office we are also interested in how changes in our climate may affect aviation. Continue reading

What happens in a thunderstorm?

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What is a thunderstorm?

Generally thunderstorms require three conditions to form: moisture, instability and lift. They are produced by cumulonimbus clouds which are created when warm, humid air is lifted. As the air is lifted it cools and the moisture in the air condenses to form a cloud. If the air continues to rise the cloud will grow taller and water droplets in the cloud grow in size. Continue reading