11 Feb 2009

Four seasons in one day

If the juxtaposition of the recent snow storms and torrential rain in Britain and raging bushfires in Australia has you scratching your head at the extremes, a short course with The Open University may provide you with answers.

Understanding the weather is one of a series of short, flexible 10-point courses introducing fascinating topics in science. This course provides an introduction to weather patterns and events around the world, explaining the main drivers that determine the weather on a seasonal and daily basis.

Isla McTaggart, Course Manager of Understanding the Weather said: “Over the last ten years or so, we have all come to acknowledge the terms “global warming” and “El Nino” but we may not really understand what they climatically mean.”

“This short course is designed for people who are new to science or meteorology, so all you need is an interest in knowing how the weather works or finding out about the science of forecasting,” she said.

Produced in partnership with the Royal Meteorological Society, Understanding the Weather is a short course offered flexibly using a DVD-ROM of images, a course website and printed materials, allowing students the opportunity to study at a time and place convenient to their lives.

“This is a course perfect for adventure sports people, like walkers and mariners who need to have a solid understanding of weather conditions. It may even make decisions as to camping holidays a little more scientific,” Isla said.

Understanding the Weather is one course in the Open University’s Bachelor of Science (Hons) Natural Sciences and the Certificate in Contemporary Science.

The course costs £140 and next starts in May 09. In some cases course fees will be waived for some individuals. For information about financial support, contact The Open University on +44 (0) 1908 653411 (Mon-Thurs 08.30-17.30, Fri 08.30-17.00) or email

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