Global Barometric Variation – Annual Maps and Monthly Raw Data


When I published my first post on Avoiding Migraines Resulting From Changes In Barometric Pressure in 2013, I had no idea how many fellow migraineurs would read, engage, and comment.

“Hi guys, OK so this really does work. I suffered when I lived in Virginia. Moved to Georgia, no headaches, moved back to Virginia, headaches, moved to Delaware, suffered horribly. The worst ever! Found this article, moved back to Georgia, no headaches. I’m so serious, I can live now.” – Kyle

I have been touched by the gratitude shown by many of the readers, and inspired that I have been able to help others–if not with their migraines directly, then at least with a better understanding of one apparently common migraine trigger. Many were happy to see some useful data that could help them understand the barometric pressure characteristics of places where they lived or were considering moving to. Others asked me where I got my data, some wanted to see hourly variation, and many others wanted to see global variation data.

Could u be kind & send me a list of the best worst places to live in Western Europe. I am hoping your list will identify the best place to live in UK I suspect all of the UK will be bad but I am stuck until I can retire & cant move to Spain or Malta until then…Thank u God for guiding me to this site. – Harry

For those who wanted more, this post is for you.

(The Usual Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, and am in no way qualified to give medical advice. I organized this data for myself and for the benefit of those who believe that living in a place with less barometric variation could be good for their health, so that they could see which cities have more or less barometric variation.)

Where I Got My Data

Although the original data set I used to compile my original U.S. list does not seem to be online any longer, I was able to find a global dataset at the FTP site in the National Climactic Data Center (NCDC) public area of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which contains barometric pressure readings for more than 11,700 weather stations around the world. Downloading all data from 2008 through March of 2016, I constructed a database of over 322 million barometric measurements, many of them taken at intervals as short as 15 minutes.  The database size weighs in at just under 10 gigabytes. There’s so much data, in fact, that my first task was to take a sample to see if hourly or every-15-minute data would prove to be more useful than 24 hour data. If I could research global barometric variation using the daily data set, it would really save on computing resources and allow me to publish results much more quickly.

Hourly Variation

I chose 13 weather stations distributed through the world which were in larger population centers (as opposed to weather rafts or remote air force bases), and which had hourly pressure data available since 2008–there were only 476 of these to choose from, the vast majority of them in the U.S. (320) or Canada (129). I then compared the percentage of days per year that experienced my standard migraine-inducing daily variation threshold (a .20 or greater change between 24 hour measurements) with a new hourly variation threshold: a .02 or greater change between any two hourly measurements). I selected the .02 hourly threshold because, like a .20 pressure change over a 24 hour period, a .02 pressure change in an hour occurs at approximately a 20% rate throughout the data set.

Here are the data on hourly variation:


Here are those data plotted for correlation:


Other than the outlier–Denver (which as a high altitude city can expect to have greater measurement error, greater true variation, or both)–it seems reasonable to conclude that daily barometric variation is an excellent proxy for understanding hourly barometric variation.

Global Variation Data

Using daily changes, I was able to construct both a master list and several maps showing the annual barometric pressure variation of the world cities.

Let’s show the maps first, because they reveal some rather amazing patterns regarding barometric pressure variation.

Note: If you want to see the maps in full screen mode, you can click on them to get a full screen slideshow. You can also right-click and then open each image in a new tab, and if you do this, on the new tab you can zoom the browser in to closely examine the a region of interest.

The World


First, you can see that there’s not much red (more than 50% of days reaching the .20 threshold variation is quite rare on this planet), so for the most part, blue means very few days of high pressure variation, green means more days of high variation, and yellowish colors mean a lot of days of high barometric pressure variation. For my migraine patterns, I would live anywhere that is colored dark blue without a moment’s hesitation, and I would not want to live anywhere green and certainly not anywhere yellow. (Anecdotally, my migraines have been at their worst the times I have lived on the U.S. East Coast, and at their best when I have lived in California).

Second, you can see that these variations are almost perfectly related to latitude, with practically zero variation in the tropics, and latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere generally showing lower variation than counterpart latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere. There are some interesting exceptions:

  • Coastal California, Portugal, Italy, and the Balkans seem to have considerably smaller pressure variation than would be expected from their latitudes. So these are likely better than expected places to live for migraineurs.
  • The United States East Coast has high variation relative to its latitude.
  • The United States Mountain Time Zone has very high variation relative to its latitude.

Next, you can review eight detailed zoom-ins on the global map.

North America

The further south, the better, except for California, which is all blue. It is worth pointing out that there is a material difference between Crescent City, in extreme Northern California (12% of days annually cross the .20 threshold) and San Diego (1% of days), just not enough to change the colors on this particular map. (Interested viewers can download the raw data spreadsheet at the bottom of this document for more details.) Also of note, some of the highest barometric variation in the world occurs in North Dakota for some reason.


Eurasia and North Africa

Europe and North Africa follow latitudes pretty closely, with the biggest surprises in the United Kingdom and Japan. Ireland has much higher barometric variation than expected for its latitude. The East Coast of Central Japan has shockingly high variation given that it’s on the same latitude as places with almost no barometric variation like Tel Aviv, Lisbon, and Islamabad. Norway also seems to be a bit worse than comparable latitudes in Sweden or Finland.


Africa and South Asia

Ah, tropical living! Except for the unexpected swath of pressure variation in Coastal South Africa, living anywhere on this map would have you pretty safe from pressure-induced migraines.



Oceania follows latitude predictions as expected. Sydney has low variation, Melbourne is moderate, and New Zealand can get extreme on its wild southern end. I have no idea why Sydney and Melbourne don’t show up on this mapping software, where instead we see Newcastle and Traralgon.


South America

Very high and narrow mountain ranges such as the Sierras and Andes seem to throw off latitude correlation. In South America, there is a line of exceptionally high variation on the Eastern edge of the Andes. This is similar to the line of exceptionally low variation on the Western edge of the Sierras in North America.


Western Europe

In Western Europe, there are very few measurements available in Germany for some reason. As mentioned earlier, Ireland and Scotland have shockingly high pressure variation, presumably related to the legendary wind and rainfall in those areas. (In addition to not be a medical doctor, I’m also not a meteorologist. I’m just a guy who gets a lot of migraines when the barometric pressure changes, and I’m happy to know that I shouldn’t ever visit Ireland in January.) I don’t understand the blue dots in the area of Northern Poland and Lithuania, but maybe migraineurs there are getting a little bit of a break. Or maybe there’s some measurement error there.


United States

I’ve written a lot about the United States in prior articles, so I just leave it at wondering this: why does central North Dakota have the highest barometric pressure variation on the planet? If you go about 500 miles due east or west, you get to Duluth/Superior or Missoula, where there’s still a decent amount of pressure variation, but nothing like the worst variation on Earth. Denver is also much, much worse than you would expect. Another case of being on the Eastern edge of a large mountain range? Or perhaps more measurement error?



Canada is really not a good place for migraine sufferers who are triggered by changes in barometric pressure. The best major cities in Canada seem to be Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, so at least that covers a reasonable percentage of the Canadian population. Flin Flon, Manitoba seems particularly bad. Yes, I just wanted to write the words “Flin Flon, Manitoba”.



Zero Days of .20 Variation Over 2,000 or More Measurements

For those of you who would like to visit a place that has not experienced a single day of .20+ variation since 2008, and for which we have at least 2,000 recorded pressure measurements since that time, there happen to be 245 such places on this planet. Note that many places between the tropics have certainly had zero days of .20+ variation since 2008, but do not appear on this map because we don’t have 2,000 measurements for those places. This would likely be the case with much of Africa. To get a good look at this map, you can right-click on the map and select “Open image in new tab”, and then zoom in on the image.



The Raw Data

Saving the best for last, perhaps, feel free to download this Global-Barometric-Pressure-Threshold-Variation Excel spreadsheet. It contains the threshold variation percentage for every weather station with at least 50 daily change measurements since 2008, and the spreadsheet tabs provide both annual and month-by-month data. The spreadsheet is 3.5 MB is size, and so might take a little while to download on slower internet connections.

So, for example, if you live in Cape Town, South Africa, you could go to the Annual tab of the spreadsheet, use Control-F to search for “CAPE TOWN”, and see that at the Cape Town International Airport (CAPE TOWN INTL) has 14% of its days throughout the year (51 days) experience a barometric pressure variation of .20 or higher. If .20 pressure variation triggers a migraine headache every time, then a migraineur who lives in Cape Town could expect at least 51 migraines per year while living there. If you want to see whether this varies by season, which it does in every place that I’ve examined, you could go to the January tab, use Control-F to search for “CAPE TOWN”, and see that only 4% of days in January (perhaps one day each January) experience threshold variation. So the summer in Cape Town, as with most places, is a time of much lower barometric pressure variation. Looking at the winter in South Africa, in July, shows that 23% of days in July (an average of 7 days each July) experience threshold variation in Cape Town, which would be problematic for a migraine sufferer with a barometric pressure variation trigger.

This spreadsheet is the best way to see the month-by-month variation for the weather station closest to where you live.

Tags: , , , , ,
37 replies
    • JT Taylor
      JT Taylor says:

      The maps below are relevant screenshots from the map I created. The interactive map crashed all but the highest powered computer I could find, so I had to be content with screenshots. I have supplied the spreadsheet at the very bottom of the post as the raw data.

  1. Delores Carr
    Delores Carr says:

    I grew up in the Chicago IL suburbs. In my late 20’s I moved to central Florida on the east coast. in my early 40’s I moved back to the Chicago IL area. Within 2 years I have had AWFUL migraines. I did know what was going on until my husband pointed out they were all related to the weather/barometer. I tried EVERYTHING to help me and NOTHING has worked. I don’t want to be on meds for the rest of my life. I am MOVING back to Florida. THANK YOU so much for your research!!

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen says:

      I just came back from 5 months in Western Florida and had 1-3 migraines a week. The third day I was home in Maine I got one. i am fed up and frustrated.

  2. Louise mcinerney
    Louise mcinerney says:

    I live in south east England and migraines are constant. Whenever I go on holiday to Spain or Spanish Islands they are greatly reduced. I’m visiting Mexico soon what is it like there ?

    • JT Taylor
      JT Taylor says:

      Looking at the map, I would say there is almost no pressure variation in Mexico. If your only trigger is air pressure, then you should have a great vacation.

  3. Jeanne Pushis
    Jeanne Pushis says:

    We have referred to your article countless times JT Taylor. Our son is the poster child for this article. Thank you so much for this information. We recently took a vacation over spring break to test this theory. We live in northeast Indiana.

    We traveled through Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. He never got a migraine once while we were out of the horrible state of Indiana. We were so shocked. He was a completely different kid it was insane. When you feel great you act differently.

    We are praying that we can relocate so that our son can feel great and enjoy life to the fullest. I cannot thank you enough for publishing this information.

    • JT Taylor
      JT Taylor says:

      I sincerely hope your son can get relief from him migraines. I seem to have passed mine on to my son, so I know how it feels to have your child suffer, one of the worst feelings there is.

  4. Courtney
    Courtney says:

    Living in Denver I can confirm the pressure does change as indicated. As a migraine sufferer I have become a better detection device than scientific data and instruments. I did live in Birmingham AL for a year and had a noticed difference in my migraines (I still had bad ones there), having since moved back to Denver they have become daily severe debilitating ones, I have had to take a leave from work (stress increases them also) and am currently looking for better ways to treating them (moving is not an option at this point ).
    I find your information great and validating. Thanks for doing so much research to help others.

  5. Kay
    Kay says:

    I have been looking for this for 20 years. I truly cannot thank you enough. I had to move from Gunnison, CO, elev 7800. It was a wise move. So grateful to you for your research and expertise. And so thankful to have found you!

  6. Cheryl Ball
    Cheryl Ball says:

    Nice study and presentation. When I grew up in California I never got headaches but when we were stationed in Adak, Alaska I got headaches all the time. One day I was looking at our barometer in the house and came to the conclusion that when the barometric pressure changed by a large amount I got a headache. Glad to see that there is a study done that proves that exact hypothesis.

  7. Thomas Feick
    Thomas Feick says:

    I have a few ideas about the outliers.

    North Dakota is in the sweet spot for experiencing polar jet stream changes. This plays havoc with the weather.

    Southern California’s weather is steadied by the warm ocean.

    The same forces that created tornado alley fiddle with the barometric pressures of the Great Plains.

    Denver suffers from being on the edge of the mountains, the edge of the plains, and the edge of the Jet Stream.

    Thanks for the excellent work. Statisticians everywhere are proud of you.

  8. John Mitchell
    John Mitchell says:

    I am an Australian ( Sydney) and my son aged 21, who is non verbal and has Autism (ASD) from his MMR vaccination ( immediate adverse response) . He has an extremely sensitive brain response to variations in barometric pressure (BP) as well as radio wave towers. He has agonising migraines from BP changes exceeding 5hPa= 0.15″ Hg in 5 hours , or 10hPa = 0.3″ Hg over 48 hours. To ‘lessen’ the migraine pain, he pounds his head against the wall and with his fists. He never does this except when having a migraine. Its becoming life threatening, but almost all neurologists know NOTHING about BP induced migraines. The Australian Bureau of Meterology( ABOM) have not analysed their BP data to determine which Australian cities are the most stable BP cities ( SBPC). I can buy their data , but dont have software to analyse the data to calculate the ?? standard deviations ?? of BP variations ( daily/hourly) . Once I determine the most SBPC in Australia, we are moving there, or if we find say Hawaii USA is THE most SBPC, the we shall move there. MR JT TAYLOR, THANK YOU SOOO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR PUBLISHED ANALYSIS, ( eg Global Barometric Variation – Annual Maps and Monthly Raw Data ) . CAN YOU PLEASE TELL ME WHAT MATHEMATICAL ANALYSIS YOU USED TO ANALYSE THE BP DATA? I would publish the analysis for all the Australian cities on this blog / web site.
    Thanks . John Mitchell.
    I am in Seattle USA on medicals for my son, and today 3 to 4 April 2016, we had a 18 hPa ( 0.53 inch Mercury) continuous rise in 27 hours and my son’s response was a tonic-colonic seizure.

    • JT Taylor
      JT Taylor says:

      Hi, John. My analysis steps were:

      1) Gather all data from NOAA FTP site for all 25,000+ global weather stations, 2008-2016
      2) Eliminate stations with measurements occurring less frequently than daily
      3) After verifying very high correlation between hourly and daily data, delete all measurements after the first measurement of each day UTC time (this got the data small enough where I could run queries that would finish in 12 hours instead of 12 days)
      4) Calculate, for each day for each weather station, whether 24 hour change was at least .20″ Hg in either direction
      5) Create maps and spreadsheet based on the percentage of 24 hour measurements that differed at least .20 Hg from the prior day’s measurement

      After working with two different data sets over the last two years, I would be very surprised if the map was much different whether analyzing .15″ change over 5 hours, .20″ change over 24 hours, or .30″ change over 48 hours.

      I also have edited my post to include a map of zero-variation locations, which sound like they could be helpful for your son–this map appears towards the bottom of the post.

  9. Elisa
    Elisa says:

    This map is great for anyone who has migraines that are triggered by a specific a level of barometic pressure which stays pretty constant, but in my case it is the rapid change in pressure caused by quick passing storms that trigger my attacks. I used to live in England and rarely had migraine attacks, it wasn’t until I moved to Florida I started having problems. If sudden temporary changes in barometric pressure don’t really trigger a migraine for a sufferer then yes Florida is a great place to be as most of the time the pressure is great. However, for migraine sufferers like me it is the massive sudden changes the storms bring that triggers our migraines. In Florida Barometric pressure basically rollercoasters during our typical daily thunderstorm (which pretty much start to crank up in March and then pretty much happen daily until late October). The pressure rapidly changes and then returns back to normal within a couple of hours. In my case I need the barometric pressure to remain as constant as possible. This explains why my migraines got progressively worse when I moved to Florida, even though the pressure is ranked worse in England by the map at least it was reasonably steady. So if the average level of pressure is a trigger this map help. However, for sufferers like me, where abrupt changes in barometric pressure are the migraine trigger the map is not helpful, as the issue is more complicated.

    • Susan
      Susan says:

      Yes!! That is my situation exactly! I live in Georgia and between 2-3 every day from April until October, I am prone to a migraine due to rapidly changing pressure readings and “summer/afternoon showers”. It is agonizing! I also need for the pressure to remain as constant as possible…if that’s possible. Right now, I think I could be a weatherman/person myself. I hope you find relief soon. I’m very thankful for this research and for all the time and effort you have put into presenting it so well.

  10. Judy McNamara Tripp
    Judy McNamara Tripp says:

    Thank you for this in-depth information.

    Migraine and Meniere’s have many of the same triggers. Many people with Meniere’s disease are affected by barometric changes that trigger vertigo, ear fullness and tinnitus. Knowing good and bad location based on barometric change is very helpful to us. So many thanks for your efforts.

  11. Chipy Sikhawk
    Chipy Sikhawk says:

    Hi JT Its Harry from UK

    Thanks Buddy, sending u a big hug from Barometric Badlands of the British Isles.
    U can visit in September its gorgeous here during that month but never visit in winter or spring. If u visit there will be a delicious pizza or fish & chips waiting for u

  12. Karen Buder
    Karen Buder says:

    JT, this is so invaluable and much dedication has clearly gone into this. I’m currently studying the affects and changes of BP with my migraines and Meniere’s as part of my daily log now and am definitely starting to see a pattern more debilitating, challenging days when the BP increases. I’m in Vancouver, Canada and I have to disagree with the notation about it being one of the more steadier BP cities. We get a lot of rain here too so that doesn’t help either.

    Thanks again for all of your work here and sharing it with us!

    Karen Buder

    • JT Taylor
      JT Taylor says:

      The impression I meant to leave readers with about Canada was the first sentence: “Canada is really not a good place for migraine sufferers who are triggered by changes in barometric pressure”. Maybe I should have written the word “really” twice or three times. There’s just a ton of air pressure variation all throughout Canada, as you would expect given its latitude. But to me the data indicate that it’s clearly better to live in Vancouver than in Flin Flon, just as it’s clearly better to live anywhere less than 30 degrees latitude than in Vancouver.

  13. Dalton
    Dalton says:

    Thank you for this information. I suffer from joint pain when barometric pressure is low. When it’s high, my pain is nearly nonexistent. I have wondered what’s parts of the world have typically higher barometric pressure. In the tropics perhaps? Do you have general data on that? Thank you.

  14. Sara Honeycutt
    Sara Honeycutt says:

    Thank you so much – I have been compiling my own charts and barometric pressure observations on my health – there are many other health issues affected by the pressure change. I have severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & many brain symptoms from this, and the pressure changes in Northern New Mexicowhere we live devastate me. My family and I are planning to move to Hawaii later this year, and I’ve been tracking their barometric pressure & see that it basically almost never drops below 30. Your information is so incredibly invaluable, I would like to see it posted on other health sites as well, I believe most immune system related disorders would benefit from this information. Bless you to the fullest.

  15. Sara Honeycutt
    Sara Honeycutt says:

    I would also like to point to the post about Florida’s rapid daily roller coaster barometric changes during the rainy season, and emphasize this thoroughly for those looking to move to Florida. The daily thunderstorms could play complete havoc for you, as they are exactly as the poster noted, and why I am moving to Hawaii instead of Florida, where I grew up and am familiar with their weather patterns (FL).

  16. Hermes
    Hermes says:

    Hi JT, you did a great job here, thanks a million! It helped me tremendously in understanding why I have felt so much better in the past at different locations in the world.

    I’ve got a small suggestion: a map with just the contours of the countries, and the city names, or a monochrome version would let the colors of the spots stand out better.
    Anyway, it’s already great as it is, I think certain regions on the Earth can expect a big influx of migraineurs the next few years, thanks to you! (as a matter of fact; I wouldn’t mind living in a migraineurs colony somewhere; finally an end to all the explaining and misunderstanding and we can rub each others backs:-))

  17. Austin
    Austin says:

    I want to say thank you…. As a Retired Air Force NCO I’ve been a few places. I also suffer with chronic migraines and cluster headaches. There were places that I always felt more “comfortable” and never knew why. You research has provided me with a mountain of information to that I can make better travel decisions. I am sending this to all my fellow sufferers. Its not a cure but it
    empowers me to make more informed decisions. Right now that is such the blessing. Keep up the good work. Too bad I can “LIKE” this page or rate the information. You would get 5 Stars and 2 thumbs up from me.


  18. Delores Carr
    Delores Carr says:

    Is it possible to get a larger map of the USA? I’m trying to get an idea of what cities are close to the blue dots and dark green dots.
    Thank you for all your work putting together this data.

  19. Shazz
    Shazz says:

    Thank you so much for al other hard work you did. I’m from Australia and moved to Michigan and never knew how much weather affected me until I would visit back home and my migraines would get less! So we will be moving to socal! Based on your research carrying Hawaii seems to be the best plan. Mine get triggered ieth changes like rain and suff. So that was a good reason not to move it Seattle or Oregon! Thank you again.

  20. Kathy Gannett
    Kathy Gannett says:

    I am very happy to find this data. I moved to PR from Boston and my headaches are much better overall but there are certain months (fall and winter) where I still have them. I would like to read the data in your spreadsheet for San Juan or Vieques (PR). It appears there is no data for PR. Anyway. Great work!!

  21. Terry
    Terry says:

    I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this, but you have hit the nail on the head about my Arthritis symptoms! I’ve never had a migraine (I’m sorry for you all), but there are many days here in Minnesota that I can barely walk, the pain in my joints is so bad. Other days, I can hike and frolic for hours!
    I, too, had connected my joint pain to the weather and barometric pressure. Thank you SO MUCH for doing all that work, and for helping people like me find a GOOD place to go when the going gets too tough!

  22. Jen
    Jen says:

    Hi, Thanks so much for sharing this! I tried downloading the raw data excel sheet several times but it doesn’t seem to open properly (strange characters). Can you check or send me an attachment please? Thank again.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Link 2016-04-10 ScorpionGlow Health, MigrainesBarometric Pressure, Health, Migraines, Pain, Weather Global Barometric Variation – Annual Maps and Monthly Raw Data […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *