Monday 1 June 2009

Azores Low

That's tonight's Atlantic weather chart from the BBC.

For anyone not familiar with the black art of synoptic weather forecasting, in the most general terms a series of tight concentric circles with "LOW" in the middle and lines radiating out with blue triangles and red circles on them such as you see near the bottom of the chart is a bad thing weatherwise whereas areas with fewer and more relaxed lines with "HIGH" in the middle like you see up near Iceland is a good thing. The infra-red satellite picture from the Portuguese Meteorological Institute ( shows it more graphically. That's us in the Azores right in the middle of the swirly bit:-

The point of posting this is that tonight's chart/sat. pic. is upside down. Normally, the High Pressure and the good weather is down here and the Low Pressure (swirly, spidery bit) and bad weather is up over Iceland. So much so, that there's a semi-permanent weather feature called "the Azores High". You hear it mentioned by TV weather forecasters and it's one of the few reasons 95% of people have ever heard of the Azores.

Anyway, the fact that the weather chart has gone upside down is explaining why we've had such bogging weather the last few days and why it was looking like this out the back door yesterday:-

and like this down at the sea:-

It's not supposed to look like that when tomorrow's the first day of June, I can tell you. Now, as for the forecast, Carol asked me earlier today "Go and get the weather forecast up on the computer, will you?" So I cued up the BBC Atlantic Chart with the Portuguese Meteo Institute's satellite pic standing helpfully by in a subsidiary window for corroboration and added information - what more could someone interested in weather prediction ask for? But the response was (as it always is) "No, not that shit, I want the one with the pictures, you know - with the suns and the raindrops and clouds and things ..." Gah! Philistine!

Carol's pictorial weather website of choice also includes a predicted percentage chance of rain. Every time it predicts, say, a 75% chance and it doesn't rain, the following conversation ensues: C - "They got it wrong, it didn't rain." Me - "Au contraire, they got it absolutely right. They said there was a 25% chance it wouldn't rain and that's what happened." C - "You know what I mean ..."

I wonder what the respective percentage chances of rain on Venus and Mars are tonight ...

1 comment:

Suze said...

Interestingly, the BBC long range forecast indicates "There are signs that the Azores high could start to build back across the southern half of the UK maintaining largely dry conditions here." That's for the week from 8th June so what's bad news for you is good news back home!

PS I'm with C on the sunny pictures and raindrops type of weather forecasting.