Pressure, Infrared Satellite, and Wind

Reference Weather Map

Current Weather Map

This panel depicts sea-level pressure and surface wind vectors. This chart is useful for finding fronts and high and low pressure systems.

The green arrows represent wind vectors. Wind vectors show wind direction and wind speed. The arrows point in the direction the wind is blowing and the longer the wind vector the stronger the wind. From the map above you can easily find warm, cold, occluded, and stationary fronts. Fronts are usually located in areas where winds come together and change direction. Low and high pressure systems can also be located from the map above. Winds around a low pressure system move counter-clockwise (cyclonic) and in towards the center. While winds in high pressure move clockwise (anticylonic) and out away from the center.

The solid cyan contours represent pressure contours (isobars) in millibars. The isobars have an interval of 4 millibars. The wind speed is directly related to the distance between the isobars, The closer they are together, the stronger the pressure gradient, and the stronger the wind.

In the background, infrared satellite data shows the cloud patterns over North America. The brightness of the cloud images is inversely proportional to the temperature of cloud tops, therefore the deep clouds with high (and thus cold) cloud tops typically indicating areas of intense rain and/or hail associated with deep convection appear brightest on this image. However high cirrus clouds will often also appear very bright, but these clouds do not produce precipitation.

For more information on how pressure affects the weather go to our forces and winds module.

pres, ir sat
Terms for using data resources. CD-ROM available.
Credits and Acknowledgments for WW2010.
Department of Atmospheric Sciences (DAS) at
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Observation Maps