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Observer’s Column: Let’s talk about the weather

Anna Goławska
IMGW-PIB

Are you afraid that the meeting will run out of topics and there will be an awkward silence? Don’t you feel too confident about economics, politics, and philosophy? Talk about the weather.

In recent years, all kinds of film formats have become very popular. Applications, where people share their video achievements and race against ideas for the more interesting frame, enjoy great popularity. Lighter, shorter, “caught in the act” or directed, funny, scary, informative, and often foolish. Everyone has a different goal when recording them, but in the end, there is one thing – to talk about them and keep warm in the glow of their popularity. Is that really all we can do? After all, we have unusual interests. Knowledge and own observations about the world, surroundings, nature, what we are interested in and engage us.

Danger = wider ranges?

A short video of a group of young people walking during gale and wind gusts up to 180 km/h. Wonderful? No, very dangerous. Photostory from a winter walk in the mountains in the afternoon or evening. Another example of irresponsible behavior. A trip on the hiking trail in light, ill-chosen but fashionable clothes – not very wise. Regardless, we want the world to see it. We record videos, take photos, share them, and wait for the reactions of others. We add sound effects and music. So there is something to watch, admire, laugh about, and be proud of. Many, seeing this, will think – I want that too, it is a good idea, let’s do it!

Stop! Mountain areas, especially in winter, are a fairy-tale place but also dangerous. Do you know what properties a layer of freshly fallen snow has or what is the water equivalent of snow? When can you practice ski jumping or snowboarding off-piste? Where to check for avalanche danger, and when are we exposed to it? How many negative degrees should be to enter the frozen pond? How much rain does it take for a flood to occur? What are gusts of wind, and when are they dangerous? What is a gale, a blizzard, drifting snow, and blowing snow?

I realize it got serious. However, topics at meetings, family dinners, or dates can really be more interesting than gossiping about celebrities, arguing about politics, or bragging about a new car or the contents of your wardrobe. It is worth talking about the weather. It is not a boring substitute subject! What are the clouds? Beautiful and changeable, but if we know how to observe them, we will be prepared for a change of weather. It is worth taking an interest in how the temperature, pressure, and water stage are formed because, on the one hand, it is a daily, light dose of information. On the other hand, it is information that encourages reflection.

Interesting meetings

In the era of the Earth’s changing climate, it must be interesting to talk about the weather. I’m sure of it. Still, many people do not trust science and do not understand phenomena occurring in the atmosphere. Therefore, on the next date, we should not be afraid to discuss the weather, the uniqueness of the clouds, beautiful radar images, and the colors of the rainbow. The legendary embarrassing silence has no chance then. Talking about observing the sky can be not only romantic but also allows to develop common interests.

Check the weather, not for tomorrow, but for the next three hours. It is variable. And as moody as we are. And certainly not dull. Yes, talking about the weather is never dull. I feel so. My colleagues from the Institute also feel this way.

Main picture: JW Ju | Unsplash


ANNA GOŁAWSKA. Meteorologist. Specialist in the Centre of Hydrological and Meteorological Measurement and Observation Service. Communication specialist of IMGW-PIB. Responsible for educational activities and content of the IMGW-PIB.

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