Most of us take the weather for granted, but it really can affect how we go about our day-to-day lives.
No one knows this better than airline pilots, who have to consult forecasts and reports constantly to ensure conditions are safe to fly in.
Sean Batty spoke to one pilot for Icelandair, Benedict Arnursson, while filming for his new weather series Weatherwatch with Sean Batty, and he explained exactly how the conditions can alter plans for air travel.
“The weather is always affecting our jobs, probably more than most jobs, and we try to use the weather to our advantage, winds and things like that, and try to avoid the bad weather,” he explained.
The pilot added: “The jet stream is a big [factor] when flying, especially when it’s a long haul distance.
“If you’re going across the Atlantic the jet streams run mainly from west to east, and that basically means if you’re going from Scotland to the United States we try to avoid entering the jet stream because they slow us down considerably.”
Most people will remember the year of 2010, when erupted volcanic ash from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland caused travel havoc across Europe.
But volcanic ash is far from the only weather conditions pilots need to deal with – others include turbulence, as well as cumulonimbus clouds.
“Turbulence is basically an unstable air, where two air masses meet and rumble up just like rafts on the river. Turbulence is not dangerous it’s just uncomfortable,” the pilot explained.
He added: “The cumulonimbus cloud can be a bit dangerous, so we try to avoid them at all times if we can; we have good weather systems on board the aircraft to avoid those clouds and we use radars too.”
WATCH THE WEATHER:
- More from Weatherwatch with Sean Batty
- Find out more about Iceland
- More on Icelandair
- More on the Ice Factor
- Details on Knockhill
- More on NATS