Atmospheric pressure

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Atmospheric pressure, sometimes also called barometric pressure (after the sensor), is the pressure within the atmosphere of Earth (or that of another planet). The standard atmosphere (symbol: atm) is a unit of pressure defined as 1013.25  mbar (101325  Pa ), equivalent to 760  mm Hg (torr), 29.9212  inches Hg, or 14.696  psi. [1] The atm unit is roughly equivalent to the mean sea-level atmospheric pressure on Earth, that is, the Earth's atmospheric pressure at sea level is approximately 1 atm.

A barometer is a scientific instrument used to measure air pressure. Pressure tendency can forecast short term changes in the weather. Many measurements of air pressure are used within surface weather analysis to help find surface troughs, pressure systems and frontal boundaries.

Pressure Force distributed continuously over an area

Pressure is the force applied perpendicular to the surface of an object per unit area over which that force is distributed. Gauge pressure is the pressure relative to the ambient pressure.

Atmosphere of Earth Layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth

The atmosphere of Earth is the layer of gases, commonly known as air, that surrounds the planet Earth and is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere of Earth protects life on Earth by creating pressure allowing for liquid water to exist on the Earth's surface, absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention, and reducing temperature extremes between day and night.

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In most circumstances atmospheric pressure is closely approximated by the hydrostatic pressure caused by the weight of air above the measurement point. As elevation increases, there is less overlying atmospheric mass, so that atmospheric pressure decreases with increasing elevation. Pressure measures force per unit area, with SI units of Pascals (1 pascal = 1 newton per square metre, 1 N/m2). On average, a column of air with a cross-sectional area of 1 square centimetre (cm2), measured from mean (average) sea level to the top of Earth's atmosphere, has a mass of about 1.03 kilogram and exerts a force or "weight" of about 10.1 newtons or 2.27  lbf, resulting in a pressure at sea level of about 10.1 N/cm2 or 101  kN/m2 (101 kilopascals, kPa). A column of air with a cross-sectional area of 1 in2 (6.45 cm2) would have a mass of about 6.65 kg and a weight of about 65.4 N or 14.7 lbf, resulting in a pressure of 10.1 N/cm2 or 14.7 lbf/in2.

In science and engineering, the weight of an object is related to the amount of force acting on the object, either due to gravity or to a reaction force that holds it in place.

Elevation Height of a geographic location above a fixed reference point

The elevation of a geographic location is its height above or below a fixed reference point, most commonly a reference geoid, a mathematical model of the Earth's sea level as an equipotential gravitational surface . The term elevation is mainly used when referring to points on the Earth's surface, while altitude or geopotential height is used for points above the surface, such as an aircraft in flight or a spacecraft in orbit, and depth is used for points below the surface.

International System of Units a system of units of measurement for base and derived physical quantities

The International System of Units is the modern form of the metric system, and is the most widely used system of measurement. It comprises a coherent system of units of measurement built on seven base units, which are the second, metre, kilogram, ampere, kelvin, mole, candela, and a set of twenty prefixes to the unit names and unit symbols that may be used when specifying multiples and fractions of the units. The system also specifies names for 22 derived units, such as lumen and watt, for other common physical quantities.

Mechanism

Atmospheric pressure is caused by the gravitational attraction of the planet on the atmospheric gases above the surface, and is a function of the mass of the planet, the radius of the surface, and the amount and composition of the gases and their vertical distribution in the atmosphere. [2] [3] It is modified by the planetary rotation and local effects such as wind velocity, density variations due to temperature and variations in composition.[ citation needed ]

Mean sea-level pressure

Map showing atmospheric pressure in mbar or hPa Day5pressureforecast.png
Map showing atmospheric pressure in mbar or hPa
15-year average mean sea-level pressure for June, July, and August (top) and December, January, and February (bottom). ERA-15 re-analysis. Mslp-jja-djf.png
15-year average mean sea-level pressure for June, July, and August (top) and December, January, and February (bottom). ERA-15 re-analysis.
Kollsman-type barometric aircraft altimeter (as used in North America) displaying an altitude of 80 ft (24 m). Aircraft altimeter.JPG
Kollsman-type barometric aircraft altimeter (as used in North America) displaying an altitude of 80 ft (24 m).

The mean sea-level pressure (MSLP) is the average atmospheric pressure at mean sea level. This is the atmospheric pressure normally given in weather reports on radio, television, and newspapers or on the Internet. When barometers in the home are set to match the local weather reports, they measure pressure adjusted to sea level, not the actual local atmospheric pressure.

Internet Global system of connected computer networks

The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and file sharing.

The altimeter setting in aviation is an atmospheric pressure adjustment.

Altimeter setting is the value of the atmospheric pressure used to adjust the sub-scale of a pressure altimeter so that it indicates the height of an aircraft above a known reference surface. This reference can be the mean sea level pressure (QNH), the pressure at the nearby surface airport or the pressure level of 1,013.25 hectopascals which gives the standard flight levels

Average sea-level pressure is 1013.25 mbar (101.325 kPa; 29.921 inHg; 760.00 mmHg). In aviation, weather reports (METAR), QNH is transmitted around the world in millibars or hectopascals (1 hectopascal = 1 millibar), except in the United States, Canada, and Colombia where it is reported in inches of mercury (to two decimal places). The United States and Canada also report sea-level pressure SLP, which is adjusted to sea level by a different method, in the remarks section, not in the internationally transmitted part of the code, in hectopascals or millibars. [4] However, in Canada's public weather reports, sea level pressure is instead reported in kilopascals. [5]

METAR is a format for reporting weather information. A METAR weather report is predominantly used by pilots in fulfillment of a part of a pre-flight weather briefing, and by meteorologists, who use aggregated METAR information to assist in weather forecasting.

QNH is an aeronautical code Q code. indicating the atmospheric pressure adjusted to mean sea level. It is a pressure setting used by pilots, air traffic control (ATC), and low frequency weather beacons to refer to the barometric setting which, when set on an aircraft's altimeter, will cause the altimeter to read altitude above mean sea level within a certain defined region. Within United Kingdom airspace, these are known as Altimeter Setting Regions (ASRs); these regions may be large areas, or apply only to the airfield for which the QNH was given. An airfield QNH will cause the altimeter to show airfield altitude, that is, the altitude of the centre point of the main runway above sea level on landing, irrespective of the temperature.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

In the US weather code remarks, three digits are all that are transmitted; decimal points and the one or two most significant digits are omitted: 1013.2 mbar (101.32 kPa) is transmitted as 132; 1000.0 mbar (100.00 kPa) is transmitted as 000; 998.7 mbar is transmitted as 987; etc. The highest sea-level pressure on Earth occurs in Siberia, where the Siberian High often attains a sea-level pressure above 1050 mbar (105 kPa; 31 inHg), with record highs close to 1085 mbar (108.5 kPa; 32.0 inHg). The lowest measurable sea-level pressure is found at the centers of tropical cyclones and tornadoes, with a record low of 870 mbar (87 kPa; 26 inHg) (see Atmospheric pressure records).

Surface pressure

Surface pressure is the atmospheric pressure at a location on Earth's surface (terrain and oceans). It is directly proportional to the mass of air over that location.

For numerical reasons, atmospheric models such as general circulation models (GCMs) usually predict the nondimensional logarithm of surface pressure.

The average value of surface pressure on Earth is 985 hPa. [6] This is in contrast to mean sea-level pressure, which involves the extrapolation of pressure to sea-level for locations above or below sea-level. The average pressure at mean sea-level (MSL) in the International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) is 1013.25 hPa, or 1 atmosphere (Atm), or 29.92 inches of mercury.

Pressure (P), mass (m), and the acceleration due to gravity (g), are related by P = F/A = (m*g)/A, where A is surface area. Atmospheric pressure is thus proportional to the weight per unit area of the atmospheric mass above that location.

Altitude variation

A very local storm above Snaefellsjokull, showing clouds formed on the mountain by orographic lift Storm over Snaefellsjokull.jpg
A very local storm above Snæfellsjökull, showing clouds formed on the mountain by orographic lift
Variation in atmospheric pressure with altitude, computed for 15 degC and 0% relative humidity. Atmospheric Pressure vs. Altitude.png
Variation in atmospheric pressure with altitude, computed for 15 °C and 0% relative humidity.
This plastic bottle was sealed at approximately 14,000 feet (4,300 m) altitude, and was crushed by the increase in atmospheric pressure, recorded at 9,000 feet (2,700 m) and 1,000 feet (300 m), as it was brought down towards sea level. Plastic bottle at 14000 feet, 9000 feet and 1000 feet, sealed at 14000 feet.png
This plastic bottle was sealed at approximately 14,000 feet (4,300 m) altitude, and was crushed by the increase in atmospheric pressure, recorded at 9,000 feet (2,700 m) and 1,000 feet (300 m), as it was brought down towards sea level.

Pressure on Earth varies with the altitude of the surface; so air pressure on mountains is usually lower than air pressure at sea level. Pressure varies smoothly from the Earth's surface to the top of the mesosphere. Although the pressure changes with the weather, NASA has averaged the conditions for all parts of the earth year-round. As altitude increases, atmospheric pressure decreases. One can calculate the atmospheric pressure at a given altitude. [7] Temperature and humidity also affect the atmospheric pressure, and it is necessary to know these to compute an accurate figure. The graph at right was developed for a temperature of 15 °C and a relative humidity of 0%.

At low altitudes above sea level, the pressure decreases by about 1.2 kPa for every 100 metres. For higher altitudes within the troposphere, the following equation (the barometric formula) relates atmospheric pressure p to altitude h

where the constant parameters are as described below:

ParameterDescriptionValue
p0Sea level standard atmospheric pressure101325 Pa
LTemperature lapse rate, = g/cp for dry air~ 0.00976 K/m
cpConstant-pressure specific heat1004.68506 J/(kg·K)
T0Sea level standard temperature288.16 K
gEarth-surface gravitational acceleration9.80665 m/s2
MMolar mass of dry air0.02896968 kg/mol
R0 Universal gas constant 8.314462618 J/(mol·K)

Local variation

Hurricane Wilma on 19 October 2005; 882 hPa (12.79 psi) in the storm's eye Wilma1315z-051019-1kg12.jpg
Hurricane Wilma on 19 October 2005; 882 hPa (12.79 psi) in the storm's eye

Atmospheric pressure varies widely on Earth, and these changes are important in studying weather and climate. See pressure system for the effects of air pressure variations on weather.

Atmospheric pressure shows a diurnal or semidiurnal (twice-daily) cycle caused by global atmospheric tides. This effect is strongest in tropical zones, with an amplitude of a few millibars, and almost zero in polar areas. These variations have two superimposed cycles, a circadian (24 h) cycle and semi-circadian (12 h) cycle.

Records

The highest adjusted-to-sea level barometric pressure ever recorded on Earth (above 750 meters) was 1084.8 hPa (32.03 inHg) measured in Tosontsengel, Mongolia on 19 December 2001. [8] The highest adjusted-to-sea level barometric pressure ever recorded (below 750 meters) was at Agata in Evenk Autonomous Okrug, Russia (66°53’ N, 93°28’ E, elevation: 261 m, 856 ft) on 31 December 1968 of 1083.8 hPa (32.005 inHg). [9] The discrimination is due to the problematic assumptions (assuming a standard lapse rate) associated with reduction of sea level from high elevations. [8]

The Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth at 430 metres (1,410 ft) below sea level, has a correspondingly high typical atmospheric pressure of 1065 hPa. [10]

The lowest non-tornadic atmospheric pressure ever measured was 870 hPa (0.858 atm; 25.69 inHg), set on 12 October 1979, during Typhoon Tip in the western Pacific Ocean. The measurement was based on an instrumental observation made from a reconnaissance aircraft. [11]

Measurement based on depth of water

One atmosphere (101.325 kPa or 14.7 psi) is also the pressure caused by the weight of a column of fresh water of approximately 10.3 m (33.8 ft). Thus, a diver 10.3 m underwater experiences a pressure of about 2 atmospheres (1 atm of air plus 1 atm of water). Conversely, 10.3 m is the maximum height to which water can be raised using suction under standard atmospheric conditions.

Low pressures such as natural gas lines are sometimes specified in inches of water, typically written as w.c. (water column) gauge or w.g. (inches water gauge). A typical gas-using residential appliance in the US is rated for a maximum of 14 w.g., which is approximately 1048.37  hPa. Similar metric units with a wide variety of names and notation based on millimetres, centimetres or metres are now less commonly used.

Boiling point of water

Boiling water Kochendes wasser02.jpg
Boiling water

Pure water boils at 100 °C (212 °F) at earth's standard atmospheric pressure. The boiling point is the temperature at which the vapor pressure is equal to the atmospheric pressure around the water. [12] Because of this, the boiling point of water is lower at lower pressure and higher at higher pressure. Cooking at high elevations, therefore, requires adjustments to recipes [13] or pressure cooking. A rough approximation of elevation can be obtained by measuring the temperature at which water boils; in the mid-19th century, this method was used by explorers. [14]

Measurement and maps

An important application of the knowledge that atmospheric pressure varies directly with altitude was in determining the height of hills and mountains thanks to the availability of reliable pressure measurement devices. While in 1774, Maskelyne was confirming Newton's theory of gravitation at and on Schiehallion in Scotland (using plumb bob deviation to show the effect of gravity) and accurately measure elevation, William Roy using barometric pressure was able to confirm his height determinations, the agreement being to within one meter (3.28 feet). This method became and continues to be useful for survey work and map making. This early application of science gave people insight into how science could easily be put to practical use. [15]

See also

Related Research Articles

The torr is a unit of pressure based on an absolute scale, now defined as exactly 1/760 of a standard atmosphere. Thus one torr is exactly 101325/760 pascals (≈ 133.32 Pa).

Altitude or height is defined based on the context in which it is used. As a general definition, altitude is a distance measurement, usually in the vertical or "up" direction, between a reference datum and a point or object. The reference datum also often varies according to the context. Although the term altitude is commonly used to mean the height above sea level of a location, in geography the term elevation is often preferred for this usage.

Sea level Average level for the surface of the ocean at any given geographical position on the planetary surface

Mean sea level (MSL) is an average level of the surface of one or more of Earth's bodies of water from which heights such as elevation may be measured. The global MSL is a type of vertical datum – a standardised geodetic datum – that is used, for example, as a chart datum in cartography and marine navigation, or, in aviation, as the standard sea level at which atmospheric pressure is measured to calibrate altitude and, consequently, aircraft flight levels. A common and relatively straightforward mean sea-level standard is instead the midpoint between a mean low and mean high tide at a particular location.

Pascal (unit) SI unit of pressure

The pascal is the SI derived unit of pressure used to quantify internal pressure, stress, Young's modulus and ultimate tensile strength. It is defined as one newton per square metre. It is named after the French polymath Blaise Pascal.

Geopotential height or geopotential altitude is a vertical coordinate referenced to Earth's mean sea level, an adjustment to geometric height using the variation of gravity with latitude and vertical position. Thus, it can be considered a "gravity-adjusted height". One usually speaks of the geopotential height of a certain pressure level, which would correspond to the geopotential height at which that pressure occurs.

Bar (unit) non-SI unit of pressure

The bar is a metric unit of pressure, but is not approved as part of the International System of Units (SI). It is defined as exactly equal to 100,000 Pa, which is slightly less than the current average atmospheric pressure on Earth at sea level.

Pressure altitude within the atmosphere is the altitude in the International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) with the same atmospheric pressure as that of the part of the atmosphere in question.

The density of air or atmospheric density, denoted ρ, is the mass per unit volume of Earth's atmosphere. Air density, like air pressure, decreases with increasing altitude. It also changes with variation in atmospheric pressure, temperature and humidity. At 1013.25 hPa (abs) and 15°C, air has a density of approximately 1.225 kg/m³ according to ISA.

The standard atmosphere is a unit of pressure defined as 101325 Pa. It is sometimes used as a reference or standard pressure. It is approximately equal to the atmospheric pressure at sea level.

International Standard Atmosphere Atmospheric model

The International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) is a static atmospheric model of how the pressure, temperature, density, and viscosity of the Earth's atmosphere change over a wide range of altitudes or elevations. It has been established to provide a common reference for temperature and pressure and consists of tables of values at various altitudes, plus some formulas by which those values were derived. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) publishes the ISA as an international standard, ISO 2533:1975. Other standards organizations, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the United States Government, publish extensions or subsets of the same atmospheric model under their own standards-making authority.

The barometric formula, sometimes called the exponential atmosphere or isothermal atmosphere, is a formula used to model how the pressure of the air changes with altitude. The pressure drops approximately by 11.3 Pa per meter in first 1000 meters above sea level.

Density altitude altitude relative to the standard atmosphere conditions

The density altitude is the altitude relative to standard atmospheric conditions at which the air density would be equal to the indicated air density at the place of observation. In other words, the density altitude is the air density given as a height above mean sea level. The density altitude can also be considered to be the pressure altitude adjusted for a non-standard temperature.

Inch of mercury is a unit of measurement for pressure. It is still used for barometric pressure in weather reports, refrigeration and aviation in the United States.

Various governmental agencies involved with environmental protection and with occupational safety and health have promulgated regulations limiting the allowable concentrations of gaseous pollutants in the ambient air or in emissions to the ambient air. Such regulations involve a number of different expressions of concentration. Some express the concentrations as ppmv and some express the concentrations as mg/m³, while others require adjusting or correcting the concentrations to reference conditions of moisture content, oxygen content or carbon dioxide content. This article presents a set of useful conversions and formulas for air dispersion modeling of atmospheric pollutants and for complying with the various regulations as to how to express the concentrations obtained by such modeling.

U.S. Standard Atmosphere

The U.S. Standard Atmosphere is a static atmospheric model of how the pressure, temperature, density, and viscosity of the Earth's atmosphere change over a wide range of altitudes or elevations. The model, based on an existing international standard, was first published in 1958 by the U.S. Committee on Extension to the Standard Atmosphere, and was updated in 1962, 1966, and 1976. It is largely consistent in methodology with the International Standard Atmosphere, differing mainly in the assumed temperature distribution at higher altitudes.

QFF is an aeronautical code Q code. It is the MSL pressure derived from local meteorological station conditions in accordance with meteorological practice. This is the altimeter setting that is intended to produce correct altitude indication on an altimeter at the actual sea level elevation, while QNH is intended to have no error at the station elevation.

The ambient pressure on an object is the pressure of the surrounding medium, such as a gas or liquid, in contact with the object.

Metre sea water Unit of pressure equal to one tenth of a bar

The metresea water (msw) is a unit of pressure used in underwater diving. It is defined as one tenth of a bar.

References

  1. International Civil Aviation Organization. Manual of the ICAO Standard Atmosphere , Doc 7488-CD, Third Edition, 1993. ISBN   92-9194-004-6.
  2. "atmospheric pressure (encyclopedic entry)". National Geographic. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  3. "Q & A: Pressure - Gravity Matters?". Department of Physics. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  4. Sample METAR of CYVR Nav Canada
  5. Montreal Current Weather, CBC Montreal, Canada, retrieved 2014-03-30
  6. Jacob, Daniel J. Introduction to Atmospheric Chemistry. Princeton University Press, 1999.
  7. A quick derivation relating altitude to air pressure Archived 2011-09-28 at the Wayback Machine by Portland State Aerospace Society, 2004, accessed 05032011
  8. 1 2 World: Highest Sea Level Air Pressure Above 750 m, Wmo.asu.edu, 2001-12-19, archived from the original on 2012-10-17, retrieved 2013-04-15
  9. World: Highest Sea Level Air Pressure Below 750 m, Wmo.asu.edu, 1968-12-31, archived from the original on 2013-05-14, retrieved 2013-04-15
  10. Kramer, MR; Springer C; Berkman N; Glazer M; Bublil M; Bar-Yishay E; Godfrey S (March 1998). "Rehabilitation of hypoxemic patients with COPD at low altitude at the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth" (PDF). Chest. 113 (3): 571–575. doi:10.1378/chest.113.3.571. PMID   9515826. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-29. PMID   9515826
  11. Chris Landsea (2010-04-21). "Subject: E1), Which is the most intense tropical cyclone on record?". Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory. Archived from the original on 6 December 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
  12. Vapour Pressure, Hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu, retrieved 2012-10-17
  13. High Altitude Cooking, Crisco.com, 2010-09-30, archived from the original on 2012-09-07, retrieved 2012-10-17
  14. Berberan-Santos, M. N.; Bodunov, E. N.; Pogliani, L. (1997). "On the barometric formula". American Journal of Physics. 65 (5): 404–412. Bibcode:1997AmJPh..65..404B. doi:10.1119/1.18555.
  15. Hewitt, Rachel, Map of a Nation – a Biography of the Ordnance Survey ISBN   1-84708-098-7

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