Wednesday, 1 March 2017

What is a giboulee?

After three months of winter the month of March marks the return of Spring and this is the season of the notorious giboulées

So what is une giboulée? According to the ever informative French meteorological website, a giboulée is a brief shower, often accompanied by wind and during the course of which hail, snowflakes, pellets of ice or sleet may be mixed in with the rain. As they pass over there is generally a rapid drop in the temperature. By contrast, in the clear spells between two giboulées the sun can give the impression of being warm and agreable.

Giboulées are produced especially at the end of winter and the beginning of spring, when the atmosphere is unstable. At the end of winter the cold air persists at high altitude, whilst the air lower down is starting to warm up. When the difference in temperature between the atmospheric layers is too great, powerful currents sweep upwards, forming unstable clouds which give us giboulées.

The phenomenon appears usually between February and April, but sometimes giboulées can be produced up to May.


Monthly Apéro: The invitations to my new monthly apéro event have gone out. If you would like to come and didn't receive an invitation, please get in touch by emailing me (via my profile link on the right side bar).


Brexit Networking: I emailed my British MP Jon Cruddas about how Brexit was and could affect me. In return I got a short but kind, personalised email back within 24 hours, expressing sympathy but admitting that he didn't have any answers as yet and appreciated being contacted.


Aussie in France said...

My dictionary says "April showers" but they sound friendly, which giboulées aren't of course. What do the Brits call them? They surely exist on the other side of the Channel.

Susan said...

Giboulée is usually translated as April shower. You are right -- it sounds friendlier than giboulée. I always think of giboulées as more like squalls, but that has a nautical nuance, so isn't a good translation either. It does convey the sense of sudden unpleasantness that giboulée does though. I think meteorologists would consider April showers and giboulées to be the same thing.

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