The climate of Great Britain
The climate in Great Britain is generally mild and temperate due to the influence of the Gulf Stream. The south-western winds carry the warmth and moisture into Britain. The climate in Britain is usually described as cool, temperate and humid.
British people say: "Other countries have a climate, in England we have weather."
The weather in Britain changes very quickly. One day may be fine and the next day may be wet. The morning may be warm and the evening may be cool. The weather is the favourite topic of conversation in Britain. When two Englishmen are introduced to each other, if they can´t think of anything else to talk about, they talk about weather. When two people meet in the street they will often say something about weather as they pass, just to show their friendliness.
Every daily paper publishes a weather forecast. Both the radio and television give the weather forecast several times each day.
The English also say that they have three variants of weather: when it rains in the morning, when it rains in the afternoon or when it rains all day long.
Rainfall is more or less even throughout the year. In the mountains there is heavier rainfall then in the plains of the south and east. The driest period is from March to June and the wettest months are from October to January. The average range of temperature (from winter to summer) is from 15 to 23 degrees above zero. During a normal summer the temperature sometimes rises above 30 degrees in the south. Winter temperatures below 10 degrees are rare. It seldom snows heavily in winter, the frost is rare. January and February are usually the coldest months. July and August the warmest. Still the wind may bring winter cold in spring or summer days. Sometimes it brings the whirlwinds or hurricanes. Droughts are rare.
This humid and mild climate is good for plants. The trees and flowers begin to blossom early in spring.
The fauna or animal life of Britain is much like that of north-western Europe, to which it was once joined. Many larger mammals such as bear, wolf have been hunted to extinction, others are now protected by law. There are many foxes. Otters are common along rivers and streams, and seals live along much of the coast. Hedgehogs, hares, rabbits, rats and mice are numerous. Deer live in some of the forests in the Highlands of Scotland and England.
Some 230 kinds of birds live in Britain, and another 200 are regular visitors, many are songbirds. The most numerous are blackbirds, sparrow and starling. Robin Redbreast is the national bird of Britain. The number of ducks, geese and other water fowl has diminished during recent years.
There are many threats to wildlife and ecological balance around the coast. The biggest threat to the coastline is pollution.
More than 3.500 million tons of industrial waste is pumped into the North Sea every year. "We cannot continue to use our seas as a dustbin and expect our coastline to survive," says Greenpeace. Many other ecological problems may be caused by privatization of the coast. Many of the rivers are "biologically dead", i.e. unable to support fish and wildlife.