Weather: UK records highest air pressure in 63 years, Met Office reveals

20 January 2020, 14:45 | Updated: 20 January 2020, 16:43

The UK has recorded its highest air pressure in more than 60 years, the Met Office has revealed.

A reading of 1050.5 hectoPascals (hPa) was seen in the Mumbles in Swansea on Sunday night, the highest UK reading since January 1957.

The dry, cold and sunny spell that much of the UK is experiencing is being driven by the high pressure, the Met Office said.

In general, low pressure leads to unsettled weather and high pressure leads to settled conditions.

The UK's all-time record high of 1053.6 hPa - recorded in Aberdeen in January 1902 - is unlikely to be broken in the current spell of cold and sunny weather, according to the Met Office.

Met Office spokeswoman Nicola Maxey said the high air pressure "for most of us, means nothing in real terms", adding that most people "will not notice any difference".

Sky weather forecaster Steff Gaulter said it was not a coincidence that all of the top three air pressure values were reported in January, the coldest month for the UK, when the air is more dense, and therefore heavier.

"When we have an area of high pressure over us," she said. "The air high up in the atmosphere is sinking towards the surface, pushing down on the earth.

"Meanwhile, in winter, it's very cold near the ground, and where these two different types of air meet, they don't mix."

High pressure in the winter leads to cold, dry days, with light winds, and frost overnight if skies are clear.

Ms Gaulter warned it will not last forever, saying "the area of high pressure over the UK seems to have reached its peak, and will slowly be eroded over the coming days."

The mercury dipped to below freezing in the south overnight into Monday, while temperatures in the north were much warmer.

Another cold and frosty start across much of the UK is likely on Tuesday, particularly in the South.

The Met Office said the spell of high pressure is not related to Storm Brendan, which caused travel havoc when it hit the UK early last week.