Storm waves crashing over harbour wall, with lighthouse in the distance looking small in comparison

How weather works

The weather affects us all, from the simple act of raising an umbrella to an aeroplane changing its course to avoid a thunderstorm.

The earth's atmosphere exhibits an extraordinary variety of weather phenomena. On a local level, we may feel a gust of wind that lasts just a few seconds. On a global scale, the circulations of huge tropical Hadley cells determine whole regional climates and weather systems. The world's weather is perpetually on the move, pushed and shaped by air currents in the atmosphere. Our personal experience of weather from day-to-day is a tiny sample of this global weather system.

In this section, we look at these processes and changes in the earth's atmosphere which cause the weather we experience each day in the UK.