Q: Describe one atmospheric system and the effects it can have on the area.

One example of an atmospheric system is an anticyclone. This is a high pressure system where the air sinks causing it to warm up. As a result no air can rise so winds are light, thus no clouds are formed leaving clear skies which can last up to three weeks. When shown on an isobar graph, the highest number is usually at the centre hence why it is known as a high pressure system. During the winter, anticyclonic systems are characterised by cold days, with 'below freezing' temperature nights. There is very little wind but if there is it is usually an intense wind chill. However, during the summer days are hot with cold nights (as there are no clouds to trap the heat in) with very little wind. This could potentially leave long periods of drought due to the lack of precipitation. We can use the example the heatwave in August of 2003 to describe the effects that a summer anticyclone can have on an area. For over 20 days high pressure sat above France which was being drawn in from north Africa; this in turn prevented other Atlanitc air masses from moving it along. Temperatures in the UK reached highs of 38.5 degrees celsius (dc) whereas in France and Italy temperatures were consistently above 40dc for over 2 weeks. Becuase temperatures this high were unexpected, Europe was not prepared for the effects. The human effects of this anticylone was that it resulted in the death of over 35000 people, 15000 of which were in France alone. This is was due to severe heat stroke, dehydration and heat exhaustion. The majority of these deaths are the elderly and the very young, this is because thier bodies found it difficult to maintain their optimum body temperatures of 37dc when the external temperatures were much higher. The majority of these deaths occured in urban areas due to a low albedo effect resulting in much higher temperatures than rural areas as the buildings created an urban heat climate. This impacted heavily on economic activty as crop yields decreased resutling in the soaring food prices. In Ukraine, over 75% of their crop was lost due to the lack of water followed by France who lost 20%. The physical effects included a the increase in the melting of glaciers causing avalanches and flash floods in Switzerland. In Portugal there were outbreaks of wildfires which destroyed 10% of thier forest and caused 18 deaths.

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