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Barometric & Atmospheric Pressure: Get the Facts in One Read

Understanding Barometric Pressure

The air around us creates pressure. By definition, barometric pressure is the pressure created by the impact of the air/atmosphere. It’s also known as air pressure.

There's more to it. Barometric pressure changes at different points on the planet. It is affected by environmental factors, and barometer readings change with fluctuations in weather conditions.

The ability to measure these little changes in the atmosphere help meteorologists make important predictions. For instance, weather agencies in many nations manage massive data stations. Now, these stations can broadcast changes in the weather that help meteorologists predict patterns for disasters like hurricanes.

A barometer is a device used to measure barometric pressure.

Understanding Atmospheric Pressure

The Earth’s gravitational force causes us to move toward the center of the Earth (the reason we come down to the Earth’s surface when we jump). During this pull, the air above us is caused to press us down to the earth (air has weight).

People in space float because there’s no air pressure to hold them down. Atmospheric pressure changes according to height or altitude. In fact, the higher you go, the lower the atmospheric pressure. The volume of atmospheric pressure in a mountainous environment will be lower compared to the lowlands or those close to sea level.

You can understand this situation best with an altimeter. The altimeter is an instrument for measuring the distance of any object or region above sea level. The Earth is filled with gases that we generally call the “atmosphere.” But what you see up there is just space. The oxygen we breathe has an endpoint.

Mountain climbers have to take more oxygen on their way up. The higher you go, the more scarce oxygen becomes. It’s the pressure leaving you. Breathing becomes very difficult at high altitudes. Scaling a high altitude without the props can create decompression sickness, which may lead to illness and even death. The atmospheric pressure of an airplane’s interior is artificial and that’s why planes are sealed until landing. 

Relationships & Differences

Experts often use barometric and atmospheric pressure interchangeably to mean “atmospheric pressure.” However, they could mean different things. Barometric pressure is so-called because the measuring instrument is a barometer. So when we utilize a barometer to measure atmospheric pressure, it is known as “Barometric Pressure.” Atmospheric pressure or barometric pressure is essential for existence. Yes, existence. The seas stay in place, we remain firm on the ground, and we won’t run out of air because the oxygen stays in place. Let’s just say pressure helps keep things together.

How to Measure Both Pressure Types

We use a barometer to measure pressure. The mercury barometer was first used by one of Galileo’s assistants in 1643. It came with a column filled with mercury. In reaction to high atmospheric pressure, the mercury rises. Due to its reading technique, the mercury barometer might pose difficulties.

The readings are usually interpreted in inches denoted by lines marked on the mercury. A steady hand is needed to move it. There are also aneroid barometers that measure air pressure without the use of fluids. We take the readings from the action of air displacing the elastic lid of the barometer.

In a mercury barometer, pressure is measured in mercury (Hg), which is expressed in millimeters as (mmHg). Another unit of measurement is the bar. It measures pressure in bars. One bar is equal to one atm (atmosphere).

Pressure is often expressed in atms (atmospheres). In the absence of pressure, we set the measurements to absolute pressure (abs). You’ll probably observe this if you decide to leave the planet to some parts of outer space. Also, in weather readings, we express pressure in bars and millibars, especially in weather forecasts. Another unit of pressure in the English metric system is the psi, which stands for “pounds per square inch.” The pascal (Pa), however, remains the standard measurement unit.

Barometric & Atmospheric Pressure in Your Everyday Life

What we benefit from atmospheric pressure might seem blurry because we’ve grown into them. The myriad uses of barometric pressure impact our ability to thrive on Earth successfully. Atmospheric pressure is also a huge determinant of our weather and sea levels.

A high atmospheric pressure signals low sea levels with sunny and calm weather. But when the pressure hits low, there’s rain and cold. These are good signs for fishing because fish come looking for food at this time. However, an increase in sea levels can create emergencies. For instance, an increase in pressure has been linked to flooding in some regions.

Besides, without this phenomenon called pressure, breathing would be impossible. The human body would shut down from zero oxygen. 

In conclusion, the instruments mentioned here have electronic versions. Fantastic apps are available to help you discover how atmospheric pressure can work for you. Make your pick today from our list of best apps for barometric & atmospheric pressure. 

  • Check accurate Atmospheric pressure and Altitude wherever you are!

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  • An elegant analogical barometer in a modern App.

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  • Barometer and simple atmospheric pressure tracker

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  • Turn your device into a professional barometer. Share photos

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  • Barometer for devices with or without a barometer sensor. Includes altimeter.

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  • Beautiful barometer with air pressure tracker and altimeter

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  • Atmospheric pressure barometer, hygrometer, thermometer, retro weather station.

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  • A simple utility for monitoring atmospheric/air pressure.

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  • Simple, useful and nice barometer

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  • Graph, Filter, Record, and Export barometric pressure data in real time

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