Just Having Sun

14 May, 2004 | LifeTdp

British weather, what the world opinion about it is, comparison to everywhere else, as part of the culture.

The British, as many people know, are obsessed by the weather. We have to be, as someone once said, "if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes and it'll change." We have an extremely variable climate, which makes for an interesting, constantly changing discussion topic. We use it to help break tense or nervous situations when we're confronted by a stranger, to help us make people feel at ease, or to break the ice. We try and keep abreast of it to help us decide what to wear, what to pack and how handy to have a coat or umbrella. At work today, thoughts turned to the weather, as we noted that the Met. Office were off the mark again, insisting it was sunny when the view from our window said otherwise.

I have noticed, on my travels, that a disturbing number of people seem to be under the impression that Britain is a place where it rarely stops raining. So, being that way inclined, I set off to collect some stats on the weather around the world.

Check out the weather comparison table

These stats were taken from the BBC weather pages. I realise picking on one city isn't entirely indicative of the weather in an entire country, but it'll have to do. I'm not sure if this includes snowfall either, as places like Moscow, Beijing, Toronto and New York obviously have plenty of snow. As you can see, London isn't the wettest of cities, nor the driest, but has a very comfortable temperature range compared to many. With a difference of 20 degrees between the lowest average minimum temperature and the highest average maximum it is comparable to LA, and betters practically all of the Northern Hemisphere cities. And while it does have a large number of wet days, which still leaves 200 dry days, and it isn't too far ahead of many other cities. So London, and by reflection, the UK isn't a huge amount wetter than most other temperate countries.

Having said that, Brits are obsessed with the weather for numerous reasons, partly because it's so wonderfully diverse. I stayed in California for some time, relations lived there for three years, and it seems to me that for the most part, the forecast doesn't change once you hit April, all the way through to about October/November. Weather presenters just tape the same forecast several times, while wearing different clothes and spend the rest of the year at the beach. Sunshine, all day, every day. Ideal for some people I'm sure, but just flipping boring. Britain has been known to experience practically every weather type in a single day. So come on folks, the weather here's not that bad, and much more interesting.