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The Climate of Great Britain

   Great Britain is situated on islands. It is washed by seas from all sides. That's why the climate and the nature of Great Britain is very specific. The popular belief that it rains all the time in Britain is simply not true. In fact, London gets no more rain in a year than most other major European cities. Generally speaking, the further west you go, the more rain you get. The mild winters mean that snow is a regular feature of the higher areas only. The winters are in general a bit colder in the east of the country than they are in the west. While in summer, the south is slightly warmer and sunnier than the north. Besides Britain is famous for its fogs. Sometimes fogs are so thick that it is impossible to see anything within 2 or 3 metres.
   Why has Britain's climate got such a bad reputation? Maybe it is for the same reason that British people always seem to be talking about the weather. There is a saying that Britain doesn't have a climate, it only has weather. You can never be sure of a fry day, though it may not rain very much altogether. There can be cool and even cold days in July and some quite warm days in January. The weather changes very often. Mark Twain said about America: "If you don't like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes" but it is more likely to have been said about England.
   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, a few days of frost and the trains stop working and the roads are blocked. If the thermometer goes above 27°C, people behave as if they were in the Sahara and the temperature makes front-page headlines. These things happen so seldom that it is not worth organizing life to be ready for them. Everyone who comes to Great Britain says that it looks like one great beautiful park. The British people love their country and take care of it.
   1. Why is the climate and the nature of Great Britain very specific?
   2. What is Britain famous for?
   3. Why has Britain's climate got such a bad reputation?
   4. The weather in Britain is very changeable, isn't it?
   5. Does it rain often?

The Climate of Great Britain(2)

   Tre common ideas people have about the weather in Britain are: "It rains all the time, it's very damp"; "There's a terrible fog in London, just like in Sherlok Holmes'...", "The sun never shines in July or August". Britain has a variable climate. The weather changes so frequently that it is difficult to forcast. It is not unusual for people to complain that the weathermen were wrong. Fortunately, as Britain does not experience extreme weather conditions, it is never very cold or very hot. The temperature rarely rises above 32°C (DOT) in summer, or falls below 10°C (14°F) in winter.
   Summers are generally cool, but due to global warming they are starting drier and hotter. Newspapers during a hot spell talk of "heatwaves" and an "Indian summer" (dry, hot weather in September and October). Hot weather causes terrible congestion on the roads as Britons rush to the coastal resorts. Winters are generally mild, with the most frequent and prolonged snowfalls in the Scottish Highlands, where it is possible to go skiing. If it does snow heavily in other parts of Britain, the country often comes to a standstill. Trains, buses and planes are late. People enjoy discussing the snow, complaining about the cold and comparing the weather conditions with previous winters.

The Climate of Great Britain(3)

   Due to the geographic location of Great Britain the type of the climate is oceanic. There are no extreme contrasts in temperature in Britain because of the current of warm water flowing from the Gulf of Mexico called the Gulf Stream. Average British temperatures do not rise above 32°C in summer and do not fall below -10°C in winter. The prevailing winds from the ocean to the south-west bring rainfall throughout the year. The total national rainfall average is over 1100 mm annually. March to June tend to be a driest months, September to January the wettest. The fogs of London, often made severe by mixture with city smoke, have worldwide reputation.
   The rivers of the Great Britain are abundant, and they never freeze. The main rivers are the Thames, the Tyne, the Severn, the Mersey; the biggest lakes are the Loch Lomond, the Lough Neagh. A considerable area of land is covered by meadows and heaths. The grass remains green all the year round. Thanks to climate conditions, Britain in truth looks like one great well-ordered park with its old trees, green meadows and hedges.
   1. What kind of climate does Great Britain have?
   2. Are there extreme contrasts in temperature? Why?
   3. What are the average temperatures?
   4. What are the driest (the wettest) months?
   5. What are the main rivers and lakes?