Thursday, January 8, 2009

Today's lessons, class, are geography and meteorology

Rosie and Lena both posted about their first day at school yesterday, so I'll let you read their impressions. My favorite part was Lena saying, "So far, this is the best school I've ever been to." Not bad after one day I guess. The one thing I'll add is that when I picked them up yesterday, I saw that the junior school girls (up to 6th year, or 5th grade in the States) line up, shake their teachers' hand, and say "Good afternoon" as they leave. It was the cutest thing to watch.

As I mentioned yesterday, I was struck by the fact that we were commuting to and from school in the dark, even though the day is not that long (school starts at 8:30 and ends at 4:00). We tend to forget how much further north we are here as compared to Pennsylvania, or even Boston where we used to live. Thanks to the Weather Underground, I can see that London is at a latitude of 51.5 degrees north, much further north than either State College (41.8) or Boston (42.4), where we used to live.* The difference can also be seen visually on this projection map.

In fact, London is at a latitude equivalent to approximately Calgary, Alberta in North America.

Because the weather tends to be more temperate in the winters -- or normally is, not withstanding the burst of cold air we've enjoyed since we arrived -- you think of it as being further south. But the lack of daylight reminds us of how far north we are. The Weather Underground reports that sunrise here today was at 8:05, and sunset will be at 4:12.

The difference in the seasonal temperatures can be seen in these averages for London and State College, taken from the Weather Underground and Accuweather, respectively:

The forecast is for it to stay unseasonably cold here for the next few days, but by next week to start to return to more normal temperatures. While packing last week I was relying on the average temperatures to guide me, and I had given some thought to leaving the heavy inner part of my winter coat ensemble (one of those Columbia get ups with the lighter, rain-proof outer shell and fiberfill inner coat) at home, and just wear a sweater underneath the outer coat. But I am very happy that I let Anne talk me into bringing both parts.

* My apologies to all my friends at Accuweather, headquartered in State College, for the reference to the Weather Underground. But the Weather Underground displays the latitude and longitude of a location when you display the weather there, while the Accuweather site apparently does not.


  1. Another great (and extremely informative post)!

  2. Thank you, Joe -- just wanted to make sure you were well prepared for your visit.