British Isles: Temperature & Rainfall

Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Because the British Isles are surrounded by a lot of water, it has a relatively mild climate. In this lesson, you'll learn more about the climate of the British Isles along with why it has the temperature and rainfall that it does.

The British Isles

Now, try not to get confused, but the British Isles is strictly a geographical designation. Just because it has 'British' in the name, does not mean that the whole area is British. Far from it, the area it covers contains several countries and political entities. The British Isles include England, Scotland, Wales, and the Republic of Ireland. As such it includes over 5,000 islands off the northwestern coast of Europe.

The British Isles
british isles climate


Because the British Isles are surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, it has a fairly mild climate. Climate refers to the long term atmospheric conditions of the region. The climate the British Isles has is called a temperate maritime climate. This type of climate means that winters are not too cold and summers are not too hot.

The area doesn't experience weather extremes because the Atlantic Ocean cools the area in the summers and keeps the area warm in the winters. The Atlantic Ocean is such a large body of water that it takes much longer to heat up and cool down.

One thing the area does get a lot of is rain. This is because the prevailing winds come from the ocean and carry a lot of moisture. Prevailing winds refer to winds that blow from one particular area.

Now, let's talk more about the temperature.


In the summers, the area typically has an average of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In the winters, the average temperature is 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember, these are only average temperatures.

The north of the British Isles is generally cooler than the south, because the northern part is at a higher latitude than the southern part. When you go higher up in latitude, you go further away from the equator and further away from the sun. You get colder temperatures because you are curved further away from the heating rays of the sun.

Also, the further up you go in altitude, the colder it will be. You get colder temperatures at higher altitudes because you are further away from the oceans and the earth, both of which act as heat reservoirs.

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