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Elvis is alive and well and in Porthcawl

At the weekend I was in Porthcawl in Wales at an Elvis festival.  It’s best not to ask why but suffice to say I wasn’t a participant, just an observer.  Elvis was everywhere, and for some reason I found myself strangely drawn to the Elvis look-a-like dog show.  I can safely say I have never seen anything quite like it and frankly hope to never again.  There was no escape, not even in the chip shop, where Elvis serenaded us through our large cod, chips and peas.

RMetS trip to Austrialia

I have been fortunate enough to travel widely through my career as a climate scientist – taking in aircraft campaigns in Senegal and Italy, and conferences everywhere from China to Hawaii. However, until recently, I had not ventured out of the Northern Hemisphere! All that changed in August thanks to an invitation from the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (AMOS) to share in the celebrations of their 30th anniversary. And so I found myself on a very long plane journey to Melbourne. The flight, though long, was not as bad as I expected.

What does a cloud feel like?

 “What do you think a cloud feels like?” I asked the assembled Brownies

“Cotton wool, cotton candy, fluffy, cool, wet ….”

A simple garden pond decoration that produces mist by forcing water through a very fine mesh, combined with a large shallow bowl of water, creates a cloud for children to feel. Most of them end up slightly disappointed as a cloud feels like nothing very much, but it is a good conversation starter!

Have you ever had that sinking feeling?

At 1039 GMT on 7 December 1972 Jack Schmitt from the crew of Apollo 17 took one of the most iconic, and certainly most reproduced photographs of all time.  NASA named it photograph AS17-148-22727, but very shortly after the picture went public it became known as ‘the blue marble’.  It is of course the picture of the near full-earth disk taken on route to the moon, with the sun directly behind the Apollo 17 spacecraft.  Interestingly it was not the first of these kinds of images from of earth.

Wind power: How a low carbon crossing of the Greenland icecap went seriously wrong

Richard Spink tells Flemmich Webb how an almighty storm during an attempt at a low carbon crossing of the Greenland icecap led to a dramatic—and welcome—encounter with a serious quantity of fossil fuel

On 19th April, my two companions and I—Raoul and the boat’s skipper, Ben—set sail from Plymouth on Fleur, a 40ft yacht, under clear skies and a calm sea. Our plan was to carry out a low-carbon crossing of the Greenland icecap: we were going to sail about 2,000 miles to Nuuk, the capital, ski 550 miles across the icecap, then sail back to the UK.

Hail of bullets: Dr Mike Edwards on his experience of a wildly destructive hail storm

This an extract from the forthcoming Winter issue of theWeather magazine. Join theWeather Club to read the whole article.

I would say it was the hailstorm from hell. It was 14th April 1999. I'd been in Australia a number of years doing different things, but at that particular point I was a professional didgeridoo player and teacher at a music school in eastern part in Sydney. We had invited a very famous didgeridoo player called Charlie McMahon to come and do some teaching, and he'd turned up in a brand new car. It was great.

In Wilma's grip: Sheila Snoddy on a Mexican holiday that went drastically wrong

Sheila Snoddy on a Mexican holiday that went dramatically wrong

We can't guarantee you'll be comfortable,"" they told us at the hotel. "And we certainly can't guarantee how long it will last. But we can say one thing with certainty – no one will lose their life on this island."