With 1 049.6 hPa registered at Heathrow Airport Sunday into Monday, January 19 to 20, 2020, London has set its new atmospheric pressure record — the highest since records began in 1692.
The barometer reached 1 049.6 hPa overnight, breaking the previous record of 1 049.1 hPa registered at Kew Observatory on January 18, 1882.
According to the UK Met Office and the European Center for Medium Range Forecasts, they've seen it coming well ahead of time.
"Computerized forecast models run by the Met Office and the ECMWF predicted this development with near pinpoint precision, forecasting the eventual position and intensity of the high-pressure area several days in advance before it had even begun to form," said Stephen Burt, a visiting fellow at Reading University's department of meteorology.
Meanwhile, the 1 053.6 hPa recorded at Aberdeen Observatory on January 31, 1902, still holds the national record.
"The reason for the extremely high pressure can be traced back to the rapid development of an intense low-pressure area off the eastern seaboard of the United States a few days before," Burt explained.
"In simple terms, the air drawn out from this system through the actions of a strong jet stream has to be redistributed elsewhere."
Burt added that this would usually happen over a much bigger area of the North Atlantic, which leads to the fast development of a fairly intense anticyclone.
"On this occasion, the 'excess air' could only be redistributed over a small area because of the existence of a number of other depressions, resulting in the rapid development and intensification of an anticyclone over the British Isles."
Featured image credit: Konstantin Von Wedelstaedt/WikiMedia
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