Speakers’ Corner – Weather Ramblings

It’s thought that weather is an obsession of the British.  Their constant chat about weather: anticipating what it will bring today, checking TV and radio news channels for forecasts and warnings and looking at weather apps on our phones.

My sister living in the northwest of England, a wet weather hotspot, said recently that she loves a weather app. 

I do to. (There isn’t a more weather focused part of the UK than the west coast of Scotland.)

My app keeps me constantly updated on the weather in London, Belgium, and Mexico – me particularly being jealous of Mexico City’s temperate climate – and, of course, the weather in the less glamorous climbs of Ellesmere Port and Wilmslow, Cheshire, where my mum and sister live.   

Where was I?  Yes, the weather on this planet of ours.

In the early 1980’s, Johnny and I lived for a couple of months in Bay Area of California, at Hayward, near San Francisco.   (Johnny had to undertake a semester at an American university as part of his American Studies course

And boy were the Californians obsessed with weather. 

I remember lots of TV news on the latest weather reports about rain, fog and mist rolling around San Francisco Bay.  When we arrived, we were expecting sunny Californian movie weather, but the north of the state got its fair share of wet days.  We were in California’s rainy season between late fall and early spring.   And today it’s obsession with the weather still holds, but not so much, after forty years, with rain but with something far worse, the lack of it.  California is suffering from exceptionally hot temperatures and dry conditions that are causing treacherous wildfires.

But getting back to weather obsessed Scotland.  After the storm in the west, it was soon the turn of the east of Scotland to be deluged in rain and to suffer widespread flooding.  Even my daughter in law’s grandmother in Mexico heard the news of Storm Babet and sent me a text saying how scary the storms in Scotland sounded.  Then in literally no time later Storm Otis wreaked havoc in the south of Mexico near Acapulco.  Otis was a category 5 storm with winds of 165mph and dumping 350mms of water on the area. The news reports from Acapulco, one of Mexico’s oldest beach resorts, showed a huge amount of damage to the city’s semicircular bay’s infrastructure – including; apartment buildings, shops, roads and seaport structures.

On the day of reporting Storm Otis in Mexico, BBC Weather reported on five other storms of similar category taking place throughout the world. They showed satellite footage of earth with swirls of cloud around several locations in different parts of the world. One of the biggest storms was happening over Indonesia.

Watching storm’s swirl around our blue planet, put me in mind of watching one of Professor Brian Cox’s programmes about the planets and the episode on Mars, with swirls of solar winds amassing around it.

Apparently, our solar system had two blue planets once, Earth and Mars.  They were referred to as The Sisters. They both had temperate atmospheres and lots of potential for life. But over time Mars lost its magnetic field and it became prey to the solar winds emanating from the sun.  This caused its atmosphere to be stripped away and its temperatures to fall and Mars froze.  Today Mars is an arid desert.  It is thought that this was due to its proximity to the sun as opposed to earth’s.  Earth was far enough away from the sun for life to grow.  But the worry is that over many millennia and the growth of the sun to become a red giant, there will be problems for Earth if her magnetic field cannot deflect the sun’s solar winds and protect us from ultraviolet rays. 

So, it may not be the swirling storms of rain that are a threat to us all, but like the extreme weather temperatures in California and Australia, it may be the sun’s drying rays.