Physicists get a taste of Meteorology

22 June 2018

A group of 4th year boys visited the University of Reading's Department of Meteorology for a day of hands on activities explaining how physics and maths are applied in understanding and forecasting weather and climate.

Amongst them was Freddie Nicholson who gave the following summary of the day:

The day started with a launch of a radiosonde balloon to gather weather data from the atmosphere which we could monitor from the ground allowing us to see the temperature and humidity up to 25km from the ground! This was followed by a tour of the large array of meteorological instruments that the UoR had to show, from towers of anemometers to measure wind speed to lasers used to measure cloud cover.

The group then attempted to recreate Richardson's Forecast Factory (a theory that had a close relation to computers today) with impressive results. Next, the group went out to gather handheld weather readings to measure the differences of climate around the site.

The day finished with a look at how basic fluid mechanics are similar to our atmosphere's currents, allowing us to predict the weather. The day opened up a keen interest in meteorology amongst the boys, an essential science for today's society.

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