Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Why people compain about the weather - reversing the popular myth

I have for a long time thought it odd that people in places blessed with comfortably cool climates - even if they are gloomier than could be desired - complain so much about the weather. England and Seattle are the most prominent places where people are supposed to complain a lot about the weather, but Europe throughout is known for this type of talk. One person on the web whom I will not name says:
“if your country has better weather than England you’re not allowed to complain about it”
This statement is based on the assumption that most of the world has much better weather than England. Whilst this a common perspective, I would dearly wish people to think about it logically. England does have a rather gloomy climate with a large number of rainy days, but it does not have:
  1. extreme winds and heavy rainfall as is found in the tropical cyclone belts of Australia, Asia and the Caribbean
  2. extremely uncomfortable and even dangerous humidity as occurs in the summer or year-round in southern and eastern Asia, eastern North America, eastern South America, West Africa and most of Australia
  3. unpredictable and extreme droughts and resultant dust storms and stock losses as found in Australia and southern and Eastern Africa
    • nor does England have the huge flood flows that occur in wet years in Australia, where the Burdekin River, with a VMAD of around 330m3/s, can reach a flow equal to that of the Congo.
  4. extremely hot and dry weather with dangerous sun conditions, as found in the hot deserts on the eastern side of subtropical anticyclones
  5. extremely heavy snowfalls as found in northeastern North America and northern Japan
  6. extremely cold conditions as found in northern North America, Siberia, Manchuria, Mongolia, Central Asia and Antarctica
If one factors in all these conditions, it becomes apparent that the vast majority of planet Earth as we know it must have worse weather than England!

More than that, some of those other places known for complaint about the weather, such as Seattle, also have unusually clement weather with mild summers and damp, cool winters. Seattle is quite a bit sunnier than England at about 5.2 hours of sun per day, and is very dry and sunny in the summer with 10 hours of sunshine and only 17mm of rainfall in July: in fact Seattle’s longest rainless spell is over fifty days, quite a bit longer than here in Melbourne.

What this clearly implies is that people in England complain about the weather so much because they are, relatively speaking, spoiled by having it so good compared to most of the world. As I see it, between 80 and 90 percent of the world must have worse weather than England. When the weather becomes a little uncomfortable or what they do not wish for, Europeans are easily upset, in contrast to Asia, Africa and most of Australia or the Americas where people accept dreadful weather very willingly as they acclimatise to it and tolerate it. It certainly takes a lot to cope with an average annual top of 36˚C as in Wyndham, or with -20˚C winters and humid 25˚C summers as in Harbin, but those used to them will see them in ways that make them less awful then they are. For instance, the extreme seasonal contrasts of Manchuria - which can be life different planets in summer and winter - no doubt becomes extremely interesting to those who live there, as would the extreme fluctuations of drought and flooding cyclones in the Pilbara.

With this sort of variety, horrible climates become something other than subjects of complaint, whereas comfortable climates generally cannot be thus transformed.

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