Our Student Weather Team Eclipse broadcast for BBC School Report 19 March 2015
Text forecast for the period of the eclipse by George
High pressure sits off the west coast of Ireland, a ridge of this high pressure holds true for the rest of the UK but to a lesser amount. Overnight there will be light rain in Scotland. There will be some cloud cover in the North of England, moving south over the day and some low cloud in the South-East of England. However, Wales, the South West of England and Central England should remain more clear of cloud overnight. The South East will also be clear of medium altitude and high cloud but will be dogged by low cloud overnight and into the morning.
Winds are due to be light throughout the forecast period. Scotland has a maximum wind gust of 31 mph, England’s is 27 mph, and Wales and Northern Ireland’s are 21 mph. The temperature in the South East in the morning will be around 5 degrees Celsius, but wind chill will make it feel like 2 degrees celsius.
The total eclipse path goes through the Faroe Islands. North West Great Britain has a 0.9 eclipse magnitude (90% of the sun covered) and South East Great Britain has a 0.8 eclipse magnitude 80% of the sun covered). There could potentially be light fog in Scotland in the middle of the day. The total eclipse will move through to the Svalbard archipelago, although the -17 degrees Celsius temperatures there will keep many people from getting a good view. Although there is likely to be cloud in the Southeast overnight, dry air is moving in, cloud height should rise and the cloud will break sometime quickly during the morning, so let’s hope this will be sooner rather than later!
The effects of a solar eclipse on the weather by Tom and Fraser
Multiple things can happen to the weather during an eclipse. Most notably, the temperature drops by a few degrees. We are expecting it to drop by around 1 to 1.5 degrees in the partial eclipse tomorrow morning over Reigate. This will make it feel colder.
Eclipses can also have an impact on the wind. Wind is primarily caused by the sun causing air to warm and rise or cool and sink. When air cools it sinks, creating a phenomenon called an ’Eclipse wind’. This wind will blow outwards from the centre of the eclipse. Along with the eclipse wind, the sinking air will create pressure changes as well (getting higher). Sometimes the amounts and types of clouds change as well, which then may change the rainfall as well. Clouds will probably clear dude to the eclipse wind.
What I learned filming the day? by Harry
I learned a great deal during my time recording the presenters for our solar eclipse forecast on the 20 March 2015. From using a technical video camera I was able to discover a variety of different filming techniques! I also learned the process of using and editing a green screen through different programs, one of the programs we used was named Adobe Premiere Pro. Adobe Premiere Pro enabled us to use a variety of effects inour presentation such as superimposing images over one another using a green screen.
The story of our BBC School Report day
Our team of students started the day by analyzing expert charts to prepare their own forecast. They did not copy any pre-written forecasts or apps so it’s all their own home-grown script that you hear. Outside filming and preparing the green-screen in our “studio” followed.
The footage on tape was then loaded onto a computer for editing while text forecasts were prepared for this page. The final edit was then uploaded to YouTube and copied onto the webpage just in time for the deadline at 4:00pm! A great day with a superb team working well together: well done everyone!
Our superb RGS weather reporters
WARNING: NEVER look directly at the sun, through ordinary sunglasses, telescopes, binoculars or any other type of optical lenses.
To prepare for watching the solar eclipse you will need to obtain solar eclipse glasses, widely available through online retailers.
An easy way to observe an eclipse is via “pinhole projection”. This is special arrangement to make sure that you avoid looking directly into the Sun, but instead you project its disc onto a screen or sheet of paper. A quick online search will lead you to step-by-step information on this.
resource pages we used to prepare our report
data upload for eclipse weather:
other articles on eclipse prep:
BBC Stargazing Solar Eclipse Weather Experiment
SCIENTISTS SEEKING ECLIPSE WEATHER BREAKTHROUGHS – IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE
Cloudy skies are forecast across much of the UK on Friday, which may obscure the partial solar eclipse and disappoint would-be observers. But scientists at the University of Reading say there is still much to study in the eclipse weather, whether or not the sky is clear.
And no matter what the weather does, people across Britain can still be part of the largest ever eclipse weather experiment by observing what happens to the weather as the moon partially blocks out the sun.
A fleeting breakthrough in the clouds as the atmosphere cools, giving a glimpse of the celestial line-up – a phenomenon reported anecdotally at previous eclipses – is just one of several effects on the weather that scientists are hoping to observe on Friday.
To test these ideas, organisers of the National Eclipse Weather Experiment (NEWEx) need to recruit an army of citizen scientists across Britain to record changes to weather conditions on Friday morning.
A once-in-a-generation opportunity
Professor Giles Harrison, head of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, is leading the national experiment.
“This is the first big partial eclipse to happen in the UK since 1999, and the next one isn’t until August 2026, so this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” he said.
“By observing what happens on Friday we are effectively turning the skies of Britain into a giant weather lab, giving us a rare chance to see what happens when you ‘turn down the sun’.
“This will give us a precious insight into how the sun influences the clouds and wind, as well as more obvious effects, such as temperature. By improving our understanding of how the weather works, we’re better able to predict it, meaning scientists can further improve weather forecasts.”
Solving eclipse mysteries
Professor Harrison said the eclipse weather measurements could also help to answer some of the enduring mysteries of eclipses – such as the so-called ‘eclipse wind’.
“There are several accounts of an ‘eclipse wind’, a change in the breeze as the eclipse reaches its greatest extent, but we’ve never had enough data to definitively prove or disprove its existence before,” said Professor Harrison.
“While we have more data now than ever from weather stations and satellites, we still need people to provide their own observations, particularly to tell us about cloud cover. This could also help to establish if breaks in the cloud are common during the peak of an eclipse.”
HOW TO TAKE PART
Anyone, including children, can take part – even if, on the day, it is cloudy or raining. All the observations from across the UK will be combined with other data to provide the most detailed picture of the effects of an eclipse on the weather ever assembled. This will help scientists gain important insights into how our atmosphere, and our weather, works.
Organisers are particularly keen to get the help of school pupils, who will be able to learn first-hand about science by participating in a world-leading weather experiment.
It will be possible to take part using simple instruments, or even just with observations made without any instruments at all. Then send all your timed observations to the team co-ordinating the experiment using this online form. Read this for information on what to look out for.
Organisers are reminding participants never to look directly at the sun at any time, even for just a second, as direct sunlight can permanently damage your eyes. Advice on how to safely observe the eclipse is available here.
FULL DETAILS: Visit the http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/outreach/eclipse_2015.html
INFO FOR SCHOOLS: http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/SDB_development/National_Eclipse_Weather_Experiment_-_notes_for_schools.pdf