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Name: Yisell A.
Status: student
Age: 16
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2001

Hi, I would like to know why do high pressure systems move faster than low pressure systems?

Movement of weather systems at the surface is a function of how the upper atmosphere is behaving. High level winds known as the Jet Stream steer surface high and low pressure systems and affect their speed and direction of movement. Sometimes the Jet Stream is very fast and strong with winds of over 200 miles per hour which will move surface systems very quickly. Other times the Jet Stream is only around 50 miles per hour which results in slower movement. Also, bends in the flow of the Jet Stream will affect how surface systems are moved or whether they remain stationary. I hope this helps!

Sally Crean
National Weather Service

I am asking you refer to solids < liquids > gases. Sound (which is an oscillating pressure distance) moves faster because the molecules has a smaller distance to travel before they transfer their kinetic energy to its neighbors. So the closer the molecules, the less time that takes.

Vince Calder


Both high and low pressure systems can move at a wide range of speeds. I would not say that one normally moves faster than the other. High pressure areas can sometimes be very persistent; they can stay around for a very long time. These are often called blocking highs because they prevent or slow the movement of trailing low pressure areas. A good example of this is the "Bermuda high", which takes hold over the western Atlantic Ocean in the summertime, centered on or near Bermuda. It can persist for weeks at a time, causing the buildup of air pollutants to unacceptable levels and cause record high temperatures in the western half of the high.

David R. Cook
Atmospheric Research Section
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory

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