REMS ‘At Home’: Meteorology

The London & South East Branch of REMS organised a meeting in January 2020 as part of their highly popular series of ‘At Homes’. The topic on this occasion is Meteorology and this is a joint meeting with the Institute of Physics.

There were presentations by industry-leading experts covering the historical aspects of modern-day meteorology, the physics of the atmosphere – including its dynamics, meteorological observations, forecasting and the delivery of weather forecasts.

The day culminated with Peter Gibbs formerly of the BBC, presenting a weather forecast with an opportunity to see behind the scenes.

Introduction to the day by Professor Paul Hardaker


Paul Hardaker was previously the Chief Executive of the Royal Meteorological Society. Prior to this, he worked at the Met Office for 14 years as both Programme Director for the Met Office’s Development Programmes, and as the Met Office’s Chief Advisor to Government.
Alongside these posts, Professor Hardaker has been a member of the Physics Advisor Panel at the University of Wales and founding editor of the international journal Atmospheric Science Letters.
Paul currently holds a visiting Professorship in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Reading, he is a Trustee on the Board of Science Council and Chairman of Sense About Science, as well as a regular contributor to TV, radio and his own blog.
Outside of his work in meteorology, Paul has held a number of non-executive positions including a Non-Executive Directorship of a City company working in risk. He was the Chairman of the UK Research Council’s programme on the Flood Risk from Extreme Events (FREE) and for eleven years, until 2009, held a visiting professorship at the University of Salford. Paul is a past Board member of the Science Council, a federal body representing the profession of science in the UK, and for five years was also a Non-Executive Director and latterly Deputy Chairman of the Board of NHS Berkshire West, one of the UK’s Primary Healthcare Trusts

My notes from the talk (if they don’t make sense then it is entirely my fault)

It could be said that the weather is a UK pastime

Ancients thought the weather was controlled by the Gods. Ancient Parthians thought it was a good idea to fire arrows into thunderstorms to get rid of them (clearly not a good idea by today’s standards)

The Parthians ruled from 247 BCE to 224 CE creating a vast empire that stretched from the Mediterranean in the west to India and China in the east.

Weather is frequently a topic in music

Is there a Rhythm Of The Rain? An analysis of weather in popular music


(a) Most popular weather types referred to in the karaoke song database. In the labels, ‘Fair’ refers to fair weather or blue sky, and ‘Thunder’ includes lightning.

(b) Number of songs with multiple weather references. In the legend, ‘primary’ songs use weather as a theme, repeated line or chorus, and ‘secondary’ references mention weather only in passing. The number of secondary songs (light grey) is stacked on top of the primary songs (dark grey), so that each bar represents the sum of the two groups.

The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on Saturday 26 April 1986, at the No. 4 nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR. It is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history and is one of only two nuclear energy disasters rated at seven—the maximum severity—on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the other being the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.

In 2005, IRSN produced a simulation of the path travelled across Europe by the radioactive cloud following the Chernobyl accident.

A graphic reconstruction of the path of the first 14 days of the 1986 Chernobyl radioactive plume. Monitoring the weather was important for this.

Monitoring the weather has also been important for the Australian fire protection service.

Weather simulations are also important for deciding on

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