Pressure Systems


Pressure system refers to a place in the earth’s airspace where the pressure is always either low or high. The low and high pressure comes about as a result of differences in temperature at different places in the atmosphere and also over the water bodies like lakes and oceans (Palmer, 1). Types, formation, and their effect to the aviation weather by pressure systems are going to be looked at in detail in this paper.

Types of pressure systems

According to Kaminsky (1) pressure systems are of two types; the low and high-pressure systems. Air is always moving from high to low pressure in order to maintain a balance. As the earth goes around, it produces a form of energy known as the corriolis effect which makes it impossible for movement of air on a straight plane and instead these winds are forced to circulate in a manner that is spiral i.e. outwards and downwards for a high-pressure system and upwards and inwards for a low-pressure system.

Formation of Pressure systems

The two pressure systems are formed differently. First, low-pressure systems/cyclones are formed where there is slightly moist and warm air ascending from the earth’s surface. At the middle of the cyclone, air is unstable (BOM, 1). During this time, humidity is high and the warm air moves upwards in a spiral manner, cooling and eventually forming clouds probably too thick to cause snow or rain. The air movement in a cyclone is always in a spiral and inwards as it moves over the earth’s surface. Sometimes during the extremely low pressure, the winds in a spiral motion may build so much force that they cause a hurricane or storm.

The second type of the pressure system is the high-pressure system/anticyclones. These are formed by the huge mass of air that is moving down for example on a mountain slopes. As the air moves down, it is heated up and this leads to increase in pressure in the airspace, and reduction of water vapor in the atmosphere. The water particles in the atmosphere evaporate hence the eventual dry atmosphere (Webster, 1).


The effects of pressure systems on aviation weather

The two pressure systems as they form have an effect on the weather of the specific geographical area which in turn may have a bad effects or a positive impact on planes’ flights. First, the cyclones comes with the spiral and inward motion of air mass on earth’s surface which at times comes with very low pressure and here the winds in a spiral motion may escalate into a storm or a hurricane. Both the storms and hurricane makes dangerous aviation weather that may cause air crashes or even hinders the planes from touching down and taking off safely ((BOM, 1).

Contrarily anticyclones have a positive impact on the aviation weather every time they happen. To start with, the warm descending air in the anticyclones gives a stable and calm atmosphere as the air that is warm cannot rise far away from the earth’s surface, a factor that makes it impossible for the clouds formation (Ritter, 1). Consequently, the anticyclones lead to less humid weather that is warm and skies that are cloudless during cold and seasons of summer and also make the winters to have a dry weather. These conditions make it conducive for the flights to safely take off land. To add on the effects of high-pressure systems on the aviation weather is that are always huge and they are capable of blocking the path for cyclones hence mitigating the effects of bad weather or totally preventing it from happening.


The pressure systems are cyclones and the anticyclones. The winds’ movement in both pressure systems is spiral, however, the cyclones has the winds moving in an ascending and inwards manner whereas anticyclones has the winds moving in an outward and ascending manner. The anticyclones has a positive impact on the aviation weather since they lead to a calm and cloudless and less humid weather while on the hand the cyclones has a negative effect on the aviation weather since they cause unstable weather characterized by storm and hurricanes.

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