Patterns and predictions of weather and climate

Prestige Christmas Lecture

Date:     Wednesday 17 Dec 2008
Time:     19:00 – Refreshments were 18:00 – 19:00, a Buffet supper followed the lecture
Speaker:     Lord Julian Hunt – University College London, Trinity College Cambridge
Location:     Goldstein Lecture Theatre, Alan Berry Block, Coventry University


Since the 1960s predictions of weather and climate are based on massive computations of the equations of fluid dynamics, thermodynamics and chemistry. But even though ten million or more data points are used in the computations, they involve many approximations. Also there are insufficient data from measurements to initiate the calculations. So why can we rely on the predictions? This requires understanding the physical processes that control the weather and climate, such as clouds or cyclones or human influences, and also their characteristic patterns, which means that they are not as chaotic as some commentators suggest. Lord Hunt gave an interesting presentation that touched on a number of areas of engineering, fluid dynamics and geography. Those mountains, although only “pimples” when viewed on a global scale, have a large affect as the air with most of the weather is constrained to flow round them…

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