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The Highs and Lows

When watching the weather during the newscast, we hear the term low pressure and high pressure thrown around. But what do these terms actually mean? In their most basic definition, high pressure shows areas of more concentrated atmospheric air pressure and low pressure would be the opposite.

High pressure systems are very good at clearing out cloud cover and letting in blue skies and abundant sunshine. High pressure systems have sinking air associated with them. This sinking air is trying to move from an area of high concentration to and area of low concentration. Think of it like this. Do you like to be in a crowded elevator? Of course not and when your floor comes up you escape as soon as possible. With the sinking air this makes it incredibly hard for air to rise and condense into clouds. This is why clear skies are associated with high pressure.

Low pressure systems on the other hand are the complete opposite. They are concentrated areas of lower atmospheric pressure. Air from high pressure systems rushes into them to fill the gap. All of this commotion causes a lot of rising air and gives us actual weather systems. All fronts are attached from the center of a low pressure system as well. These fronts denote temperature differences I.E. cold front and warm front.

The atmosphere is always tiring to keep it self in equilibrium or balance. Meteorologists are always watching the patterns of high and low pressure systems to make the best forecast for you and your family. So next time your tuning into the news and you hear the term high pressure you can automatically think of sunny skies for a few days!

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