North American High

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The North American High (also Canadian High/Anticyclone, sometimes in Europe Greenland High/Anticyclone) is an impermanent high-pressure area or anticyclone created by anticyclogenesis (anticyclone + the Greek word genesis, meaning "birth, origin"), a formative process that occurs when cool or cold dry air settles over North America. In summer it is replaced with an Arctic Low, or if it moves to continental land, a North American Low.

North American Highs move eastwards across the continent, often in the company of one or more low-pressure cells or cyclones. Its cold, dense air does not extend usually above 3 km (1.9 mi), lower than the Canadian Rockies. Sometimes, in winter it breaks free and passes over the Rockies and brings a cold front into Southwestern United States and Mexico, freezing crops and bringing snow into Mexico's mountains as far south as Jalisco. The high’s usual location east of the Rockies shelters it from the relatively warm Pacific Ocean and helps it maintain its strength. The average January sea level pressure at its centre is about 1,020 millibars (30.12 inches of mercury). The Canadian high often moves southeastward until it eventually reaches the Atlantic Ocean, where it merges with the Azores high. In the summer the Canadian high circulates cool, dry air to the United States east of the Rockies and parts of southern Canada.

The North American High is akin to the Siberian High of Eurasia, but it is much smaller, and it has much less influence, merely affecting the weather of the Northern Hemisphere. The sea-level pressure (atmospheric pressure) rarely, if ever, exceeds 1055.0 millibars (1055.0 hectopascals)(hPa)(SI).

Often, in the winter months, cool or cold dry air settles over the land in the vicinity of the Great Basin where it builds into a high-pressure cell or anticyclone that moves across the United States with a cold front on its leading edge. After reaching the Atlantic Ocean, the moist environment brings on changes of the qualities of the air and the dissipation of the high-pressure cell or anticyclone as the cold air warms and becomes humid. In Europe, a portion of the North American/Canadian high usually over Greenland called the Greenland high which settles over Greenland affects northern European weather and may merge with the Scandinavian High.


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