How weather works(Part1)

In this section we look at what happens in the atmosphere to create the day-to-day weather that we experience.

The weather affects us all, from the simple act of raising an umbrella to an aeroplane changing its course to avoid a thunderstorm.

The earth's atmosphere exhibits an extraordinary variety of weather phenomena. On a local level, we may feel a gust of wind that lasts just a few seconds. On a global scale, the circulations of huge tropical Hadley cells determine whole regional climates and weather systems. The world's weather is perpetually on the move, pushed and shaped by air currents in the atmosphere. Our personal experience of weather from day-to-day is a tiny sample of this global weather system.

In this section, we look at these processes and changes in the earth's atmosphere which cause the weather we experience each day here in Cornwall

High and low pressure

High and low pressure systems cause day-to-day changes in our weather. In this article, we look at how they are defined and how they form.

Blocking patterns

Blocks are areas of high pressure that remain nearly stationary and distort the usual eastward progression of pressure systems.

jet stream

The jet stream is a core of strong winds around 5 to 7 miles above the Earth’s surface, blowing from west to east.


Air mass source regions

The temperature of an air mass will depend largely on its point of origin and its subsequent journey over the land or sea. This might lead to warming or cooling by prolonged contact with a warm or cool surface.

Weather fronts

Weather fronts mark the boundary or transition zone between two air masses and have an important impact upon the weather.

What is a waving front?

A waving front (or frontal wave) is a disturbance that runs along a cold front and slows its clearance, often bringing a longer period of wet weather..

What is the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation?

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is a large system of ocean currents that carry warm water from the tropics northwards into the North Atlantic.

What are El Niño and La Niña?

El Niño and La Niña are terms which describe the biggest fluctuation in the Earth's climate system and can have consequences across the globe.

How to read synoptic weather charts

The word 'synoptic' simply means a summary of the current situation. In weather terms, this means the pressure pattern, fronts, wind direction and speed and how they will change and evolve over the coming few days.

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