PART 1 OF 3
Why is it always raining in Britain? Our weather may be unpredictable but you can bet that there is rain on the horizon. But why is Britain constantly plagued by showers, precipitation and downpours?
Britain – like all other countries – is dominated by air masses. Often, the prevailing wind comes from the west, meaning the air must have travelled across the Atlantic Ocean and collects some of the ocean’s moisture as it does so.
The prevailing wind is the most common/dominant wind direction.
These air masses are referred to as ‘maritime’as they have travelled across waters and are moisture-laden. When this air reaches the west coast of England, it is faced with hills and mountain ranges: Dartmoor, Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia, The Pennines, The Lake District. The air is forced to rise over the hills. As it rises, the air cools and the moisture within condenses, creating water vapour that eventually forms clouds. Over time, these clouds will release this vapour as precipitation – sleet, snow, hail or rain – before the air is light enough to travel over the hill.
This is the main reason why it is often wetter across the West rather than the East; The Atlantic’s moisture released into the air falls over the hills located along the west coast of The British Isles. This type of rainfall is known as Relief rainfall, and forms the first of three different types of rain we experience in the UK!