What is a high pressure system?

High pressure climates are associated with deserts.

The climate on planet Earth is constantly changing. One of the reasons is because the winds are always changing, increasing, decreasing and creating areas of various pressures in the atmosphere. A high pressure system is one such result of shifting winds. This type of system means that the pressure inside the system is higher than in the surrounding areas.

High pressure systems are often associated with good weather. This is because as the air descends, it heats up and is able to hold more water vapor. Thus, in these systems, clouds tend to evaporate and the air stabilizes. Storms have a hard time forming in stable air.

Humidity is generally lower in or near a high pressure system, also contributing to good weather. Many desert areas of the world are associated with persistent high pressure climates. The drier air helps create the desert environment.

Many desert areas are associated with persistent high pressure climates.

While most people like the vibe that comes with this type of system, it’s not all good. Heat waves and drought conditions arise due to multiple high pressure systems moving in an area or because of an extended system not leaving an area. In fact, meteorologists hypothesize that America’s Dust Bowl of the 1930s, with its droughts and heat, was caused by a persistent trend of the high pressure system in the Midwest and Arkansas and Oklahoma.

A high pressure system can cause cold snaps in the weather.

Sometimes a certain area will be associated with a high pressure system. In the summer, those who live in the southeastern United States are familiar with the Upper Bermuda phenomenon. This is a system that tends to be long lasting, contributing to the summer heat. Clockwise wind flow around a high pressure system also ensures that moisture coming from the Gulf of Mexico moves through the area, creating the high humidity the area is famous for.

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This type of system can also cool the weather. Those in the United States are also familiar with the winter Siberian Express and Alberta Clipper systems, which bring in cold air from the Arctic or Canada and cause cold snaps.

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