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tv   Weather World  BBC News  December 31, 2018 4:30pm-5:01pm GMT

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this is bbc world news. the headlines: a spokesman for the bangladeshi prime minister has denied opposition the home secretary has chaired a meeting with the border force and other agencies as he attempts to deal with the rising number of migrant attempting to cross the channel. in the latest incident, i2 channel. in the latest incident, 12 people, including a child, were found by border officials on the kent coast this morning. 39 people arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following a stabbing in west london. the 70s pop starjimmy osmond recovers from a stroke which he had well performing in a pantomime in birmingham last thursday. now, time for a christmas edition of weather world. nick miller and sarah keith lucas report on the awesome power of wind, from the destruction caused by hurricanes to its huge potential to power the planet. on one of the windiest days of the year, we've come to one of the windiest places in the uk.
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which is just as well, because this is the uk's biggest onshore wind farm. so, hold onto your hats... ..this is weather world. we will be getting up close to find out how these wind turbines work, and revealing how much power they can generate on a stormy day like this. it's opposite to how a fan operates. a fan will plug into electricity and use it to generate wind. the turbines do the opposite. also on weather world — 2018's biggest storms. the floods that rage with almost unimaginable force. cyclones so powerful they transform a coastal paradise into piles of rubble. and amid warnings of climate catastrophe to come, wildfires reach new scales of size and devastation.
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and i'm at imperial college london, where they make their own wind to research how to keep the public safe. the wind turbine — it's the modern incarnation of humans‘ attempt to harness the power of the air that blows for our own needs. the use of this cleaner, greener renewable power source is expanding across the world, reaching new heights in servicing our energy demands. while the sight of these turbines is not to everyone‘s liking, as more of them appear across the countryside and at sea, the growth goes on. the uk's wind energy industry estimates offshore wind—power capacity is set to nearly double in just the next decade. when it comes to onshore wind farms in the uk, they don't come any bigger than this.
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215 of these turbines in an area ten miles across. we are in scotland and this is near glasgow. i tell you, every one of these turbines is going like the clappers today, because it's windy and, sarah, it's getting windier. that's right, the wind is strengthening during the course of our visit today and more and more power is being generated as a result. later, we will look at how much energy has been produced during our visit, but, peter, you are the area supervisor. is it a prime day for energy production? it's an excellent day. the site is pretty much running at full power, just over 530 megawatts of power. that's enough energy to provide electricity to round about 300,000 homes. on a day like this, what sort of percentage of scotland's energy can be produced by wind power? the amount of wind power
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we have in scotland, there is every chance 100% of scotland's electricity could be provided. what makes the location so prime for a wind farm? geographically, it's the highest point between the coasts, so it's very exposed, as you can feel from the wind, and it's an ideal location to put a wind farm and maximise wind yield. thank you. later, peter will take me for a drive around the site to talk about the management of the turbines and to get an idea of the scale of this wind farm. and with this example of the power of wind, we start the weather review of 2018 in the netherlands, injanuary. wind so strong it blows people off their feet. these are some of the strongest winds ever recorded here. this storm that strikes the us city of boston injanuary is dubbed a bomb cyclone, combining wind with snow and flooding and then this. as temperatures plummet, the flood freezes, entombing
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dozens of cars in ice. in the uk, the first day of spring looked like this. the infamous beast from the east had arrived. snow blanketed large swathes of the british isles, giving the coldest march day on record. but if there is ever an example of keep calm and carry on... no, no! ..it‘s from this driver and her quick reactions in scotland. the big freeze covered much of europe, giving rome its biggest snowfall in decades. so, of course, that means a mass snowball fight in st peter's square. the cold start to spring was soon a distant memory, as the uk went on to experience its warmest april day since 1949 and the hottest early may holiday weekend on record. but, by summer, a severe multi—continent
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heatwave was under way. this is japan. temperatures rose above 41 celsius for the first time here. and, by early august, parts of iberia are in the grip of extreme heat. this is portugal, where temperatures broke the 46 celsius mark. back in the uk, the driest start to summer on record turns the land from green to brown. wildfires rage on the moorland of northern england — they are some of the worst in living memory and the scale of the devastation is hard to believe. summer 2018 goes on to become the uk's joint hottest on record. but proof, as if we needed it, that the seasons are unstoppable — an early snowfall smothers the hills of southern england at the end of november. when it comes to early snow, morocco takes the prize. these scenes from the end of october — the first snow
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of the season arriving two months ahead of schedule. i'm in a place where they make their own wind. here at imperial college london, at the department of aeronautics, they have two wind tunnels which they test regularly. i'm joined by professor peter bearman, an emeritus professor here, a professor of experimental aerodynamics. this is a very large, low—speed, wind tunnel which we flow around road vehicles. we look at wind energy devices, turbines, how efficient they are, and we look at flow around buildings including looking at the comfort around buildings for pedestrians, cyclists, for the effect of the wind. it's a little loud. you mention you use these to test the effects on things like vehicles, and built—up areas. yes, investigating the wind environment and how it is modified
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when a new building is planned to be put up. it is much better for the architect or consulting engineer to know at this stage, the early—stage, what changes might need to be made to improve pedestrian comfort. later in the programme, we'll come back and talk more about the impacts of wind on built—up areas and high buildings. peter and i are taking a drive around the wind farm. you can get a sense of the scale, how massive this wind farm is. how long has it been in operation here? whitelee has been in operation for about ten years now, it opened officially in 2009. currently in our tenth year of service on the turbines. looking out at the turbines, they cover a distance of about ten miles and they are widely spaced, so why aren't they closely packed together?
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we could pack them together but as the wind passes through the rotors and it's disrupted by the blades, it causes a kind of vortex. if that vortex hits another turbine it would inhibit the production of the turbine and the turbine may actually stop for vibration. they have to be quite widely spaced in order to let the wind settle down as it passes through one rotor on to another. we had a look at the broad scale of the wind farm, now nick is about to get better acquainted with a wind turbine, taking a closer look at the details of how they operate. this is the closest i've ever been to a turbine, and the obvious thing is the size. the other thing which i hadn't realised is the sound of the blades whizzing through the air. and another thing — when you see these from a distance, it seems like the blades aren't going round very fast. but when you are right next to one, they whizzing through the air
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and you get the sense of the energy being harnessed. fiona lindsay is a project manager here at whitelee, so bottom line these, how do they work? we are generating renewable energy by taking the wind that's passing through the turbine blades, and the blades are capturing the kinetic energy and that's what allows them to spin and it spins round a shaft inside the cell, and a generator converts it into electrical energy, the opposite of how a fan operates. you plug a fan into electricity, and use electricity to generate wind, these turbines do the opposite. and there is other kit on these turbines, too, monitoring the weather so they can work at their maximum potential. yes, there's a wind vein that measures direction that allows the turbines to face into the wind, and there's an anemometer which allows the blades to pitch, to turn and move into the prevailing wind and get the best from the aerodynamics. and can it be too windy? can the weather be so bad they will not work properly? it can sometimes.
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it's not frequent — the turbines tend to be available almost 100% of the time. with some weather events, the turbines would switch off automatically but it's not for a long of time, usually force 10 conditions and above. today is usually as good as it gets. it's perfect, with 40—50 mph wind, perfect for generating renewable electricity. and we'll find outjust how much electricity is generated when we head to the control centre a bit later. and now, in praise of beautiful sunsets, here's a selection of your weather watcher pictures from october, when some stunning examples could be seen across the uk. as the sun sets, its light travels through a greater depth of the atmosphere. much of its blue and green light is scattered, but not the red, and this becomes the dominant colour we see. you can become a weather watcher by signing up online. still to come on weather world: freak floods and tropical cyclones.
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more of 2018's biggest storms. and this wind tunnel can generate wind speeds of up to 100 mph. i'll be finding out how the research can help keep pedestrians safe. we are in scotland, at the uk's biggest onshore wind farm, whitelee. now we've been outside to see the turbines, we've found out how they work, and now we've come inside to where they're monitoring the energy the turbines produce. it's the control centre, and mark is the manager here. mark, it's a good day for you, it's a windy day, and you'll have known about that for quite some time. tell me about the weather information you get. we do. the wind is extremely important to us, it's our business, and some of the models were used, we have a system we have and some of the models we use, we have a system we have developed with the met office
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and that was made a number of years ago and provides us with a 14—day bespoke weather forecast for all of our sites across the uk. and that's notjust for wind. that's for rain, it's for snow, for fog, many varying elements as well being used to operate our business. you can look at how much energy is generated but you can tie it down to an individual turbine. i was at turbine 55, earlier, how is that doing today? we can look on the system, turbine 55 at the moment is roughly about 70 metres per second wind, that's about 35 mph. and at the moment it's producing its maximum 2.3 watts energy that it can produce. around 1,300 homes can be powered in a year. from that one turbine? that one turbine. quite incredible. everything is flat out today. we are providing some balance in services for national grid but we have produced to the marker we are expected to. it is also wind farms across the uk are monitored from here.
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they monitor and control a0 wind farms from here from northern scotland to cornwall, ireland, to even off the coast of germany. in total, 1,000 wind turbines. now, our weather review of 2018 continues with huge waves smashing into seafront apartments in tenerife, in the canary islands, in november. is amazingly, no—one was injured. but the toll was much greater in the worst flash—floods ever to hit the spanish island of majorca. three times the october average rainfall came in just a few hours. 12 people were killed. in japan, historic flooding swamped large areas of the country injuly, killing around 200 people — the worst flooding disaster here since 1982. flash floods come with tremendous force. this is tunisia, in september, after what was said to be its heaviest deluge in almost 25 years.
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jordan, in november, and this video capturing the moment a flash flood pours into the ancient city of petra after weeks of heavy rain in the country. this bus is no match for the sheer power of a monsoon—flooded river in the indian state ofjammu and kashmir in september. in southern india, kerala is hit hard by a monsoon, with the worst flooding in a century killing hundreds. and breathtaking scenes from turkey in may. a man clings to the bonnet of a car as it is swept away after torrential rain in ankara. several people were injured. it's been another year of intense tropical cyclones. this is typhoon mangkhut hitting hong kong, in september, as the most powerful ever recorded here. fiji, in april, feeling the force of a second cyclone in as many weeks.
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fiji's prime minister says this pacific island nation is in a fight for survival, as climate change brings almost constant deadly cyclones. the atlantic hurricane season was dominated by two storms that hit the usa. first florence, in september, stalling over the carolinas and dumping massive amounts of rain — the wettest tropical cyclone ever recorded in this part of the usa. worse was to come in october... there it goes. ..as michael became the most powerful hurricane to hit the florida panhandle, and the fourth—strongest to make landfall in the usa. there were fears it would cause catastrophic damage, but the reality of what the storm left behind was worse than could ever have been imagined. much of what used to be the city of mexico beach is destroyed. this is a scale model of the city of london. i'm back at the department of aeronautics in imperial college london with professor
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peter bea rdman. peter, why do designers and architects need to be concerned about the strength of the wind when they are looking at new buildings? a number of reasons. one is, is the wind going to destroy the building, have they made it strong enough? but the point of these quite complex models that you see here is to look at what effect the building will have on the local wind environment at street level. is it going to make pedestrians very uncomfortable? are they going to be blown over? what we're doing in this tunnel is simulating the characteristics of the natural wind, and so the energy in the wind increases with height, so the height hitting the top of a tall, neutral building is going to be stronger than it is at lower levels. and, also, it can divert some of that wind down to ground level. we have ramped up the wind, it's feeling stronger.
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you wouldn't normally use smoke, though, would you? no, we wouldn't normally use smoke, and we wouldn't normally be kneeling in front of the model, because we're producing a lot of our own gusts here. you and i have become high—rise buildings. we have. it's not recommended. how do you then monitor the strength of the wind, the gusts around these buildings? well, we have sensors embedded in, coming through the floor of the model, and they are measuring the wind speed at the height of a typical pedestrian. well, peter, it's been fascinating being here today. thank you so much for your time. pre—monsoon windstorms in india are an annual feature of the weather, but these in may were the worst in decades as they sweep across the north, whipping up dust after the dry months. over 100 people are killed. some storms gather sand ahead of them and then roll it out
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over huge distances. this massive storm was caught on camera in china in november, the sand from the nearby gobi desert. disaster in greece injuly. strong winds caused the rapid spread of a wildfire through north—east of athens. the destruction left behind reveals only some of the horror that unfolded here. more than 80 people die, many of them as they sought safety on the beach. and it's been yet another year of devastating wildfires in california. fanned by strong santa ana winds, this one in november sweeps towards the coastal homes of the rich and famous in malibu. it's the worst fire here in living memory — respecting neither the beautiful setting of the homes it destroys, nor the wealth of their owners.
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but even this pales in comparison to this. virtually the entire town of paradise lost to the deadliest, most destructive wildfire the state has ever known. apocalyptic scenes that prompt a heightened debate about the impact climate change could be having in california. more than 80 people died here. you have to go back 100 years to find a wildfire that has killed more people in the usa. rain to dampen the fires eventually arrived, with a number of storms going into december, but they caused flooding and bring fears of mudslides. turn around, the flash flood's right there. no one wants a repeat of this. get out, go. the moment a mudslide hit the californian town of montecito, at the start of 2018, following major wildfires the previous month. at least 20 people died in the destruction that followed. down under now, and a multi—year drought they are calling the big dry continues in the australian state of new south wales. these scenes in august show
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farmers struggling to feed and water their cattle. since then, there has been some rain, in fact, flooding from the heaviest november rain in decades in sydney. but long—term rainfall deficits remain. how many of you? lost for nine days, and now found. in thailand, 12 boys and their football coach are located deep within flooded caves. setting off a race against time and the weather as monsoon rains could leave them stranded for months. it's a mission that captures the attention of the world, and one that was complete just over a week later, with all the boys brought to safety. in a year that our use of plastic and the impact of it on the world around us has risen in prominence, astonishing scenes from the lebanese capital beirut in september. a flood of rubbish and plastic after a torrential storm. from new warnings of the rate of the earth's warming,
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amid the first rise in global co2 emissions in four years, 2018 saw report after report highlighting the impacts of living in a world of rising temperatures. and in december, at a united nations climate conference in poland, renowned naturalist and broadcaster sir david attenborough warned of a man—made disaster on a global scale. if we don't take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon. applause. we're back in the control centre at whitelee, the uk's biggest onshore wind farm. and mark, we've been itching to know since the beginning of our visit todayjust how much energy has been produced here. sarah, today at whitelee, we've produced six gigawatt hours, we expect across our portfolio to produce around 3a gigawatt hours. a very productive day across the uk
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and particularly here. already 30% of the uk's power produced by wind energy. is that figure going to increase, is it something you expect to grow? absolutely, our drive is to build more onshore wind, it is the cheapest form of energy. but it is also solar, other storage elements too, and we want to capture that to provide the best energy mix. thank you so much for having us here and showing us around your operations. you're very welcome. thank you. in fact, on the day we filmed, strong winds across the uk helped to set a new renewable energy record, with wind farms supplying almost a third of the uk's electricity needs. and now to one of the more unusual sights of 2018 — an almost perfectly rectangular iceberg, more than a kilometre across, flowing in the weddell sea off antarctica in october. the clean lines and sheer edges proving its recent separation from an ice shelf.
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and finally... # the weather outside is frightful.# not for these children, it's not. their delight is because this is the first time they have ever seen snow. it's november in the canadian city of toronto, where snow is hardly headline news. but for these eritrean children, who have come from a refugee camp in sudan, it's reason to celebrate. but don't get too carried away — there's a lot of winter still to go. # let it snow, let it snow...# and that's it for this time on weather world. sarah, i know it's a good thing to come to a wind farm on such a windy day, but can we go back inside? i will get you a warm cup of tea in a moment. for highlights from the previous programme, go to the website. and look out for more weather world in 2019. until then, keep checking the forecast. for many of us it is a cloudy end to 2018. a lot of cloud in this guys for most
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of us. the only exception is part of scotland, where we have mountain waves, ripples caused by the wind going over the mountains, which tend to break up the cloud a little bit. if you brighter moments. there will also be a few brighter moments to the east of the pennines, particularly for yorkshire and lincolnshire. otherwise, it stays cloudy, and the front will bring some rain in the afternoon across scotland. that sinks southwards into southern scotland and northern ireland, so far hogmanay celebrations the skies were clear. a few showers, very windy, gust of around 75 mph in the northern isles four hogmanay celebrations. further southwards, the threat of some rain for northern ireland in southern scotland. just a few showers, really. south of this, it stays mainly cloudy, not particularly cold, and dry for those
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all—important midnight celebrations. do the rest of the night, the weather front pushes southwards, bringing a little bit of rain across england and the. some areas will avoid rain altogether. quite patchy in nature. looking at the picture for the first day of the new year, we have got it of and pushing southwards, a big area of high pressure to the west of the uk. that cold front is important. not only does it bring colder air across the uk, the more significantly, for many of us, it is going to break the cloud up. so on tuesday, new year's day, we are looking much sunnier skies across scotland and much of england, probably staying pretty cloudy across wales in south—west england, and maybe also northern ireland. the temperatures going down, compensated for by sunnier skies. quite a chilly wind with us. through the night time into the early hours of wednesday, a fairly widespread frost develops. wednesday looks like another dry day with high—pressure still with us. still plenty of sunshine for most of us,
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but we will see the cloud thickening up but we will see the cloud thickening up once again for western ears of scotla nd up once again for western ears of scotland later in the day. temperatures will be cool for the time of year, highs of between 4—7. so, to sum up, although it is cloudy at the moment, that will break up into the new year, with some sunshine and frost returning by night. this is bbc news, i'm lukwesa burak. the headlines at 5. the home secretary has chaired a meeting with the border force and other agencies as he attempts to deal with the rising number of migrants trying to cross the channel. twelve people, including a child, are being questioned by immigration officials after being found by border officials on the kent coast this morning. thirty nine people are arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following a stabbing in west london. the ‘70s pop starjimmy osmond recovers from a stroke which he had while performing in a pantomime in birmingham last thursday. huge crowds gather around sydney harbour
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to see in the new year with a spectacular display of fireworks. this is the scene live in bangkok, as the thai capital welcomes in the new year.
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