It is the middle of August in 2018 and I am in a small town in the Swiss Alps called Leysin. Beautifully situated in the mountains and not far from Lake Geneva, the temperatures here are in the mid-20s during the day, only to drop down to single digits at night. Leysin has a humid continental climate with annual precipitation averaging 1,481 mm, which equals more than twice that of London. Because the village is situated at an altitude of 1,565 m above sea level the average annual temperature is only 3.9°C.
Christmas markets are among the most popular traditions in Europe. The tradition started in the former Holy Roman Empire during the Late Middle Ages, where winter markets were held for citizens to stock up their supplies to last through the cold months. Over time, local handicrafts such as baskets and woodcarvings were also sold on the markets. The earliest documented winter markets were reported from Vienna (Austria) in 1298 and the German cities Munich (1310), Bautzen (1384) and Frankfurt (1393).
The Science Museum has created a wonderful short video dedicated to the work of Luke Howard. Luke Howard was an amateur meteorologist and chemist who invented the cloud classification system in 1802, in an essay titled ‘On the modifications of clouds’ which was read to the Askesian Society. The Askesian Society was a small debating and self-improvement club joined by those with an interest in research and education. He wanted to emphasise the importance and usefulness of meteorology and visual observations of wind and clouds.