Polar Fronts & Anticyclones

Weather in the Cairngorms National Park is strongly influenced by the presence and position of the atmospheric polar front. This front is the atmospheric equivalent of the meeting of polar and tropical waters from the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans and brings westerly depressions and associated unsettled weather. This westerly weather alternates with less frequent more settled spells resulting from an anticyclone over Scandinavia.

Regions of high atmospheric pressure, often many thousands of kilometres in diameter, are known as anticyclones. They are slow moving and are drawn on weather charts as concentric isobars, with the highest pressure at the centre. Air in the centre of an anticyclone subsides, compresses and warms and this warmer and drier air suppresses cloud formation. Thus anticyclones are usually associated with fine weather in the summer and dry, cold, and sometimes foggy weather in the winter.

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