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What is the Barometer ?

The barometer is an instrument traditionally used in meteorology to measure ambient or atmospheric pressure. Atmospheric pressure is understood as that measured within the atmosphere of a planet.

Historically the first barometer was invented in the 17th century by the Italian physicist and mathematician Evangelista Torricelli.

What is the Barometer Used For ?

For centuries it has been known that measurement and adequate interpretation of the variations that occur in atmospheric pressure allow us to know, in advance, the behavior of weather conditions. In this sense, atmospheric disturbances are understood to be those elements responsible for variations in the pressure of the atmosphere.

For example, a low pressure, especially if it is the product of a rapid decline, indicates a depression and therefore anticipates bad weather. Similarly, an increase in atmospheric pressure is an indicator of what we enjoy as good weather.

Barometer has therefore been a fundamental tool for meteorologists, and with the advancement of technology the barometer has become accessible –and important- for planters, gardeners, pilots and even for the person who will go to their office in the morning.

At present, barometer is a daily ally of those who work outdoors or who coordinate or carry out sporting events. Now, the measurement of atmospheric pressure with a barometer alone does not offer the reliable precision to predict the weather, but its indications are certainly essential.

Types of Barometers

There are different types of barometers, and their contribution to meteorology is essential to explain the behavior and trend of some climatic phenomena.

Mercury Barometer

Mercury barometer was invented by Evangelista Torricelli in 1643 to measure atmospheric pressure. The principle of measurement of it rests in the variations of the pressure of the atmosphere that produces rises or falls of the liquid, indicating the pressure. In this barometer measurement is made in millimeters of mercury.

Aneroid Barometer

The aneroid barometer, also known as holosteric barometer. It was invented in 1843 by Lucien Vidie. This instrument works thanks to a metallic capsule in which the absolute vacuum has been induced. The capsule walls are elastic, and undergo certain deformations caused by atmospheric pressure.

These variations modify the position of a needle that runs along a circular scale graduated in millimeters of pressure, and makes it possible to estimate atmospheric pressure.

Digital Barometers

Digital technology has also refined barometers, enabling faster and more accurate measurements. In addition, it allows you to keep records on wind and humidity levels. Digital barometers are often used by meteorologists and scientists, and by almost everyone with a smartphone today. Digital barometers offer accurate readings of atmospheric pressure.

How Does the Barometer Work ?

With passage of time and development of mechanical and later digital devices, the operation of barometers has become more accurate and simple. The first version of the device, created by Torricelli, used tubed mercury. In this device, measurement is made according to the height that the metal reaches inside the tube.

Modern barometers offer more precise measurements, which is because they are calibrated with respect to sea level, which is a key parameter for the instrument to measure more rigorously. In this sense, it is important to bear in mind that the action of a barometer in a mountainous area is very different from that of a region near or below sea level.

What Does Barometer Measure ? Unit of Measurement

Measurement of the barometer is air pressure, which although invisible is recordable. This pressure of the atmosphere varies, being higher towards areas near sea level and lower towards elevated areas.

Depending on the change in the weight of the air, there is a change in its pressure, and this change is what produces variations recorded by the barometer. Units of measurement are Hectopascals (hPa), also in millibars (mb), and ranges between 960 and 1060 hPa.

In this third decade of the 21st century, atmospheric pressure can be measured and recorded in different units. A mercury barometer measures inches of mercury, which is used in aviation in the United States. The unit of Pounds per square inch (psi) is commonly used in the oil world; and its equivalent PASCAL (Pa), standard in the metric system.

Since the pressure exerted by the planet’s atmosphere is of great importance and practical utility, it has become common to express it in terms of «atmospheres» (atm). To describe the «weather conditions» the units bar and millibar (mb) are used for pressure. Meteorologists are often heard mentioning the millibar to describe low- or high-pressure weather systems.

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What is Barometer Used For, Definition, Uses, Types, How Does it Work, What it measures, Unit of measure and More
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