Weather explainer: How high pressure affects the weather
8 February 2023
How high pressure affects the weather
High pressure continues to influence conditions.
An area of high pressure is currently hanging above the UK and Ireland, how does high pressure affect our weather?
The weight of the atmosphere is continuously pressing down on the earth. That’s what meteorologists mean when we talk about ‘air pressure’, it’s the force that the air is exerting on the ground.
As you might guess, in a region of high pressure, the pressure is higher than the surrounding air.
High pressure generally supresses weather systems while low pressure is associated with poor conditions.
The air within the high pressure is slowly sinking towards the ground. As the atmosphere nearer the ground is generally warmer than that high up in the atmosphere, this means the air is warming as it sinks and this acts to suppress any showers or storms.
Therefore an area of high pressure often leads to clear skies and sunshine. But a word of warning, high pressure can trap moisture near the surface, giving cloud or fog which refuses to clear.
So an area of high pressure doesn’t necessarily guarantee a fine day, but it does increase our chances.