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Online course

Come Rain or Shine: Understanding the Weather

Get an introduction to the weather and climate of the UK and beyond, from understanding storms to how to do a weather forecast.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its length + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps)
  • Access to quizzes and assignments
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps)
  • Access to quizzes and assignments
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Come Rain or Shine: Understanding the Weather

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Why join the course?

Weather is all around us. It affects our lives almost every day – through what we wear, what we eat and what we do. It also affects most industries and leisure activities. In the UK we are well known for talking, and complaining, about the weather. But what brings us such variable weather? What makes it rainy, windy or sometimes even sunny?

Understand the physical processes behind the weather

This course provides an overview of some of the physical processes underlying the weather systems which impact on many aspects of our lives. Together, we’ll start by looking at the UK’s characteristic weather patterns; for example the low pressure weather systems or depressions which bring us most of our rain, wind and storms.

Explore weather phenomena from global to local, big to small

On this course you will examine the larger scale processes which control the weather and climate globally, as well as weather phenomena in other parts of the world. The weather is always in the news – and we’ll be exploring some of the more recent notable weather events.

We’ll also investigate everyday weather processes, which determine whether or not you need to take your umbrella with you. This course offers an ideal opportunity to discuss both the daily and more exceptional weather events with learners worldwide.

Learn from experts about the basics of forecasting the weather

The course features interviews with experts from the University of Reading’s Meteorology Department and the Royal Meteorological Society; two leading organisations in the field of meteorology.

Each week you’ll learn from a mix of background articles, case studies and practical, video demonstrations – some of which you can try at home. We will also invite you to complete some fieldwork of your own; investigate your local microclimate and try your hand at our forecasting activity! We’ll equip you with the knowledge you need to help you make an educated guess each week about the following weekend’s weather and invite you to share your predictions on the RMetS website. Pit yours skills against your fellow learners and see how you get on. Will your scores improve every week?

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsThe weather is all around us. It affects what we eat. It affects what we wear. It affects just about every industry and every leisure activity.

Skip to 0 minutes and 16 secondsThe weather is constantly in the news. So when there's a major weather event, particularly an extreme weather event, people want to hear about it, because it affects their lives. Today, here at the University of Reading's atmospheric observatory, we're lucky enough to have a pretty nice day. The sun's shining. It's quite cold, but the weather's good. But what affects the weather? What makes it rain? What makes it windy? Or sometimes even, what makes it sunny? These are the sorts of things that we're going to explore in this course.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 secondsOver the next three weeks, we're going to learn something about the processes that underlie the weather that we see every day. We're going to do that through a combination of written material, online searches, and practical demonstrations.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

Who is the course for?

You don’t need any existing knowledge of meteorology, just an interest in learning about the weather. This might appeal to you if you’re a member of theWeather Club or signed up to Weather Watchers. There should be something for everyone – whether you are coming to the course with a fair amount of previous knowledge, or none at all. If this is the first time you’ve taken a meteorology course you may find some of the content challenging, but don’t worry there will be plenty of help available.

It also might appeal to you if you’re a geography teacher. For example, the amount of time devoted to weather within the English National Curriculum and GCSE and A level specifications has hugely increased; this course will help improve your confidence to teach the topics and may also be directly relevant to your students, some of whom may consider a career in meteorology.

Course image used with permission of NEODAAS/University of Dundee.

Who will you learn with?

Peter Inness

I am a lecturer in the Meteorology Department at Reading University. Prior to joining the University I worked for the Met Office in several different roles.

Sylvia Knight

Head of Education for the Royal Meteorological Society - which involves supporting weather and climate teaching throughout the UK. I've got a physical Natural Sciences degree and PhD in meteorology.

Who developed the course?

Supporters

Free:

  • Access to the course for its length + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps)
  • Access to quizzes and assignments
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps)
  • Access to quizzes and assignments
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For £59 you’ll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

A Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your Linkedin or CV

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete.