GEO113: Earth, Wind, Ice and Fire Portfolio Assessment 2

  Department of Geography



GEO113: Earth, Wind, Ice and Fire

Portfolio Assessment 2


This assessment involves interpretation of weather charts and observations for the 2nd November 2020, when a low pressure system (also known as a depression or mid-latitude cyclone) passed over the UK.  When answering the following questions you should link what you see in the observations and weather charts to the theory that you have learnt from lectures (in particular Week 5 Lectures 2 and 3 and Week 8 Lecture 2, the bits of these lectures on the geostrophic wind, and on depressions and the weather they bring), the introductory online practical on Monday 16th November, and reading.  A reading and resources list is provided at the end of this document.


Figure 1 shows the movement of depression ‘X’ from 00 midday on to 1200 on Monday 2nd November.  Figure 2 shows wind speeds (in miles per hour) and direction measured at Met Office observing stations during the 2nd November, Figure 3 shows weather observations from these stations, and Figure 4 shows temperature measurements (in oC) from these stations.  You should use these figures to inform your answers.


Both questions are equally weighted.  The word count is a total of 500 words, marks are equally split between questions.  This does not include the reference list.



Question 1.

Explain how the observed wind speed and direction over the UK on 2nd November (Figure 2) relate to the isobar spacing and direction (Figure 1) and to the passage of system X.  In your answer, consider how the winds/isobars change over the course of the day, and how they differ across the UK.


Question 2.

Explain how the weather and temperature observations in Figures 2-4 relate to the passage of the low pressure system X and its associated fronts.















Figure 1.  Met Office Synoptic Charts for a) 00 on Monday 2nd November, and b) 1200 on Monday 2nd November 2020.







Figure 2.  Wind speed (values in circle) in miles per hour, and wind direction (arrows) measured at Met Office meteorological stations for A) 00 and B) 1200 on Monday 2nd November 2020. Note that the arrows on these charts point in the direction that the wind is flowing to, but that wind directions are named according to the direction that the wind is coming from (so an arrow pointing towards the northeast would be termed as coming from the southwest, or a southwesterly wind).


Figure 3.  Weather observed at Met Office meteorological stations for A) 00 and  B) 1200 on Monday 2nd November 2020.  See this web link below for an explanation of the symbols:




Figure 4.  Temperature (in oC) measured at Met Office observing stations for A) 00 and B) 1200 on Monday 2nd November 2020.


To submit this report please go to ‘Assessment Submission’ to submit via ‘Turnitin’.  Referencing and a reference list are required (the reference list does not count towards the word count).



Reading and other resources

This is a suggested list, do explore other resources too.  The material in my lectures is based around reading, so it is preferable to cite reading rather than my lectures.


Barry and Chorley, Atmosphere, Weather and Climate, Chapter 9, Section E (Section D also useful for background) (available as an e-book through Star-Plus)


O’Hare et al., Weather, Climate and Climate Change: Human Perspectives, Chapter 9, Sections 9.2.


For information on interpretation of the symbols on the synoptic charts, look at:

  • You need to scroll down to ‘Pressure Symbols’



Guide to the symbols on Figures 2-4.



View the Met Office video ‘How to interpret a synoptic chart’ on the Week 8 GEO113 Blackboard page.


Sections of Met Office Fact Sheet No. 11 – Interpreting weather charts


Fact Sheet No. 10 – Airmasses and weather fronts.