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University of Reading

Come Rain or Shine: Understanding the Weather

University of Reading via FutureLearn


Weather affects our lives almost every day through what we wear, what we eat and what we do. But why is it rainy, windy or sometimes even sunny? Explore some of the physical processes driving UK weather systems and get hands on in the world of weather with practical activities and fieldwork. Try your hand at forecasting and have a go at interpreting weather maps and compare your results with our educator, Dr Sylvia Knight’s. You’ll also watch our educators carrying out simple but effective experiments including creating clouds, simulating hot air rising and demonstrating the Coriolis effect.

You don’t need any existing knowledge of meteorology, just an interest in learning about the weather. This might appeal to you if you’re signed up to Met Matters or Weather Watchers. There should be something for everyone – whether you are coming to the course with a fair amount of previous knowledge, or none at all. If this is the first time you’ve taken a meteorology course you may find some of the content challenging, but don’t worry there will be plenty of help available.

It also might appeal to you if you’re a geography teacher. For example, the amount of time devoted to weather within the English National Curriculum and GCSE and A level specifications has hugely increased; this course will help improve your confidence to teach the topics and may also be directly relevant to your students, some of whom may consider a career in meteorology.

Course image used with permission of NEODAAS/University of Dundee.


  • Low pressure systems
    • Welcome to the course
    • Depressions
    • Depressions: part 2
    • Case studies
    • Review and Reflect
  • High pressure, rain and air masses
    • Welcome to Week 2
    • Jets, conveyors and faster cold fronts
    • Air masses
    • Types of rain
    • Anticyclones
    • Fieldwork
    • Review and Reflect
  • Global controls on weather and weather around the world
    • Welcome to Week 3
    • The Earth's energy budget
    • Global atmospheric circulation
    • Tropical weather systems: El Niño, monsoons and tropical cyclones
    • Other weather systems
    • Review and Reflect

Taught by

Peter Inness


4.0 rating, based on 3 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 273 ratings

Start your review of Come Rain or Shine: Understanding the Weather

  • An interesting and informative course. It teaches the basics of reading a synoptic chart, provided a few interesting experiments, and looked at the myriad of agents influencing weather, climate and weather prediction. Overall the course was very g…
  • Millie B.

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