In meteorology, an anticyclone (i.e. opposite to a cyclone) is a weather phenomenon in which there is a descending movement of the air and a relative increase in barometric pressure over the part of the earth's surface affected by it. At the surface the air tends to flow outwards in all directions from the central area of high pressure, and is deflected on account of the Earth's rotation (see Coriolis effect) so as to give a spiral movement. In the northern hemisphere an anticyclone rotates in the clockwise direction, while it rotates counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere. The rotation is caused by the movement of colder higher pressure air that is moving away from the poles towards the equator being affected by the rotation of the earth. Since the air in an anticyclone is descending, it becomes warmed and dried, and therefore transmits radiation freely whether from the sun to the earth or from the earth into space. Hence in winter anticyclonic weather is characterized by clear air with periods of frost, causing fogs in towns and low-lying damp areas, and in summer by still cloudless days with gentle variable airs and fine weather. The low, sharp inversion can lead to areas of persistent stratocumulus or stratus cloud, colloquially known as Anticylonic gloom.
Anticyclones generally bring fair weather and clear skies as the dynamics of an anticyclone lead to downward vertical movement which suppresses convective activity and generally lowers the mean relative humidity, in contrast to the upward vertical movement in a cyclone. However as the anticyclone moves over the earth surface it may heat up locally, acquire water from the land or oceans or encounter warmer wet air. Local geography may cause a range of localised weather phenomena specific to anticyclones, while the interaction of the different air masses, which occurs at weather fronts, may cause a range of weather events.
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