Winterdienst-BEST
Your Winter Service Berlin

High Pressure Area

High pressure areas are meteorological air masses above the ground characterized by higher air pressure than the surrounding areas. In high pressure areas large masses of air drop and in doing so become warmer. They are capable of accumulating more moisture which is why there are no clouds. When it is close to the ground it warms up in the direction of the lower pressure in the area which is why, depending on the size of the high pressure area, it can take days or weeks for pressure equalization to occur.

Stable cloud-free conditions with little air movement and unimpeded insulation thus dominate within the high pressure area. Air movement only occurs at the perimeter of the high pressure system and in those areas is felt more or less as strong wind. High pressure areas occur less frequently than the low pressure systems that surround them. Every year there are approx. 60 highs and approx. 150 lows. During the winter high pressure systems unfold when the temperature of air drops over a cool landmass. The air then has a higher density and exerts pressure on the air masses surrounding it. This is referred to as a dynamic high pressure system when air masses that have a higher pressure detach themselves from subtropical
high pressure belts and move eastwards. This kind of area, which frequently determines the weather in Central Europe, can be found in the Azores in the Atlantic.

Depending on the direction the high pressure moves in, the weather in northern parts of Germany can be beautiful and stable, too. Satellites that were designed with the purpose of observing the weather make it
possible to make relativel precise predictions as to the directions high pressure systems and low pressure systems will move in. They make it possible to predict the weather for several days. With the help of modern technology the results can be converted into image sequences which in turn make the weather prediction very graphic for the audience.

Air masses move at a relatively slow pace in our parts of the world. Contrarily, in tropical areas they can reach great speeds which are why it is more difficult to make predictions there.

The direction of the pressure compensation is not the only thing that is decisive for the direction the wind has at the border of a high pressure system. Due to the earth’s rotation, the wind always moves anticyclically and clockwise on the northern half of the globe. This deviation from the actual pressure compensation depends on the speed of the wind and decreases from the equator towards the poles.

High pressure areas are given names to make it easier to tell them apart; when the year has an even number they receive female names, when the year has uneven number male names. The names are provided by the Meteorological Institute of the Freie Universität, Berlin.