atmospheric pressure

See more synonyms for atmospheric pressure on Thesaurus.com

noun Meteorology.
  1. the pressure exerted by the earth’s atmosphere at any given point, being the product of the mass of the atmospheric column of the unit area above the given point and of the gravitational acceleration at the given point.
  2. a value of standard or normal atmospheric pressure, equivalent to the pressure exerted by a column of mercury 29.92 inches (760 mm) high, or 1013 millibars (101.3 kilopascals).
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Compare sea-level pressure .

Origin of atmospheric pressure

First recorded in 1655–65
Also called barometric pressure .
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for atmospheric pressure

atmospheric pressure

  1. the pressure exerted by the atmosphere at the earth’s surface. It has an average value of 1 atmosphere
Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

atmospheric pressure in Science

atmospheric pressure

  1. The pressure at any location on the Earth, caused by the weight of the column of air above it. At sea level, atmospheric pressure has an average value of one atmosphere and gradually decreases as altitude increases. Also called barometric pressure

A Closer Look: The weight of the air mass, or atmosphere, that envelopes Earth exerts pressure on all points of the planet’s surface. Meteorologists use barometers to measure this atmospheric pressure (also called barometric pressure). At sea level the atmospheric pressure is approximately 1 kilogram per square centimeter (14.7 pounds per square inch), which will cause a column of mercury in a mercury barometer to rise 760 millimeters (30.4 inches). The pressure is frequently expressed in pascals, after the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal, who studied the transmission of pressure in confined fluids. Subtle variations in atmospheric pressure greatly affect the weather. Low pressure generally brings rain. In areas of low air pressure, the air is less dense and relatively warm, which causes it to rise. The expanding and rising air naturally cools, and the water vapor in the air condenses, forming clouds and the drops that fall as rain. In high pressure areas, conversely, the air is dense and relatively cool, which causes it to sink. The water vapor in the sinking air does not condense, leaving the skies sunny and clear.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

atmospheric pressure in Culture

atmospheric pressure

The pressure caused by the weight of the air above a given point.


Normal atmospheric pressure at sea level is about fifteen pounds per square inch. (See barometer .)
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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Nearby words for atmospheric pressure

  1. atmospheric braking
  2. atmospheric electricity
  3. atmospheric engine
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  5. atmospheric perspective
  6. atmospheric pressure
  7. atmospheric tide
  8. atmospheric window
  9. atmospherics
  10. atmospherium
  11. atn

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What is Barometric Pressure?

March 27, 2017

by Tom Lish

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2017-04-03 What is barometric pressure NO OVERLAY.pngSimply put, barometric pressure is the measurement of air pressure in the atmosphere, specifically the measurement of the weight exerted by air molecules at a given point on Earth. Barometric pressure changes constantly and is always different depending on where the reading takes place.

Average barometric pressure as sea-level is commonly cited as 14.7 pounds per square inch (PSI). However, this figure is just an average. In reality, barometric pressure varies across the world, especially at higher elevations where atmospheric pressure is much lower than at sea level. In fact, there are 50% fewer air molecules at 18,000 ft. than there are at sea level. One of the ways that aircraft can determine what altitude they are flying at is by measuring outside air pressure . Altimeters can read air pressure relative to a calibrated ground reading and convert that information to a readout in feet or meters.

 Barometric pressure also changes with the weather — or rather, the weather changes with changes in barometric pressure. Being able to measure and analyze small changes in atmospheric pressure helps meteorologists track the weather and predict storms. In fact, the National Weather Service (NWS) operates a large array of data buoys across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans to serve that function. Being able to precisely read and transmit data on pressure changes from these stations is crucial in tracking large storm systems like hurricanes and typhoons.

SETRA BLOG: What is a data buoy?

Although the standard pressure at sea level is measured in PSI, barometric pressure is typically measured in either inches of mercury (inHg or “Hg) or millibars. The National Weather Service uses Hg to measure surface air pressure, although most scientists generally prefer to use hector pascals (hPa) as a standard unit. Traditionally, barometers were constructed out of glass columns filled with liquid mercury; changes in atmospheric pressure would be reflected when the level of mercury either rose or fell relative to a nearby ruler.

Many household barometers are made out of liquid-filled glass tubes or are constructed as a typical dial gauge. However, barometers for industrial use or for use in weather stations are capacitive based pressure transducers . These sensors are extremely sensitive and accurate — up to 0.02% of full scale. A major benefit with capacitive sensors is their ability to convert a pressure reading into an analog electrical signal, a perfect solution for outposts that need to transmit barometric pressure information back to a central location.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the tools used to measure barometric pressure.


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