Water plays an essential role in the development of weather. Itќs also a master of transformation that comes in many forms. The variations of water, and its power to both nurture and destroy, are explored in Water: The Shape Shifter, another installment of the popular wild weather series hosted by journalist Richard Hammond.
The film addresses a series of basic yet intriguing questions regarding water and the weather. How much does a cloud weigh? What is the extent of the damage which can be caused by clumps of rain water, showers of hail or an aggressive avalanche?
Preconceptions are likely to be challenged right from the start. The first experiment involves the in-depth examination of the common cloud. They may seem soft and billowy from below, but an individual cloud can actually weigh as much as two elephants. In order to put this to the test, Hammond and his crew ascend in a helicopter and lower an absorbent spongy canister into the center of a cloud. In another segment, they attempt to craft a man-made cloud with the assistance of an atmospheric scientist.
Near Lake Buttermere in northwest England, we learn about the phenomenon of rainfall, the process by which it transforms in mid-air, and the circumstances that determine whether a rain fall is heavy or merely a light drizzle. In one fun experiment, we discover the sum total of rain's power. What would happen if the full weight of a rain shower were to fall in one large wave over a concentrated small area?
How does hail differ from regular ice? The crew demonstrates these differences courtesy of a ping pong paddle and pneumatic tubing. In the final and most perilous experiment, the filmmakers attempt to measure the speed of a falling avalanche. How can snow move down a mountain faster than water? They set out to find the answer by detonating a controlled series of explosions near the snow-capped mountain tops of Switzerland.
The film imparts a wealth of fascinating information, and it does so in an enthusiastic and lively manner. It's like the ultimate high school science class, only more fun.