Over the past few years, the weather has been in the news more often than usual because of the changes global warming has brought upon us.
As typhoon Ondoy has shown, areas you did not think will get flooded suffer hardest when the downpour comes. Who would have thought, for instance, that Marikina would get the brunt of Ondoy’s wrath at around this time last year?
You step out of the house in the morning and feel the warm sunshine kissing your cheek. But before you know it, the sun is gone and you see gloomy skies and gusty winds that give way to pelting rain with lightning and thunder.
So forget about trying to predict the weather. The best way is to understand it.
Let’s start by studying anticyclones. According to Julius Nuñez, a science tutor at Ahead Tutorial and Review, anticyclones are areas of high atmospheric pressure, or where atmospheric pressure on the surface of the planet is higher than the one surrounding it. Thus, anticyclones are also known as high pressure centers or areas.
This weather phenomenon got its name from the fact that air flows in a circulatory way within the system. Winds in high-pressure areas flow outward due to higher density air near their center and friction with land.
Since anticyclones circulate opposed to the earth’s rotation, it has the prefix â€˜anti.’ “It moves clockwise in the northern hemisphere; anticlockwise in the southern hemisphere,” said Nuñez.
Anticyclones form when high pressure on the earth’s surface force the air to go down from somewhere up in the atmosphere. Descending air discourages condensation so there will be little cloud cover and clear skies — whether it be winter or summer.
Weather that anticyclones create mimic the seasons.
During summer anticyclonic conditions bring clear skies, sunshine, low wind speeds, high temperatures and dry weather. You can go with your friends outdoors, bike and engage in many kinds of sports.
But these summer anticyclones have a downside. They turn to heat waves when they last for weeks.
Anticyclones also occur in winter. At this time, stable air give way to clear skies and calm, dry conditions.
But the lack of clouds leads to chilly weather. When night falls, this lack of cloud cover means that any energy from the sun absorbed by the ground during the day is radiated back to space. Temperatures drop to rock-bottom levels, and frost can form. Roads are blanketed in ice.
That’s the scenario the songwriter of “White Christmas” had in mind when he wrote the immortal holiday tune.
Even during the day, winter anticyclones bring clear blue skies without rain. But you still have to bundle up. The air remains cold, thus making you shiver from head to toe.
How should we deal with the weather changes brought by anticyclones? It pays to be ready for what the weather may turn out to be during the day, said Nuñez. Always bring an umbrella to shield yourself from the harsh sun and pounding rain, and a jacket too. And layer on clothes when the temperature becomes cooler.