This image shows three common ways that atmospheric pressure is measured - using a mercurial barometer, an aneroid barometer or a barograph.
Click on image for full size
Windows Original (Using images from FAA)
Measuring Atmospheric Pressure
Even though we can't see air
, it is real and pushes on the things it surrounds
. The push of the atmosphere is called pressure. Atmospheric pressure changes all the time.
We can measure the pressure of the atmosphere with a mercury barometer or with an aneroid barometer. You can see they look very different in the picture to the left. Both of the instruments will tell us if the pressure has gone up or gone down.
If a mercury barometer or an aneroid barometer is set up to take measurements all the time, it is called a barograph (see picture).
Nowadays, many weather instruments like the mercury barometer or an aneroid barometer have been replaced by electronic instruments that record atmospheric pressure onto a computer.
Atmospheric pressure can be measured in many different units. Some of the units are called Pascals, bars, or even inches of Mercury. They are all used in describing and forecasting Earth's weather.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist
, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store
You might also be interested in:
A barometer is a weather instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure. There are two types of barometers used to do this: the mercury barometer and with an aneroid barometer The mercury barometer was...more
Mercury has almost no atmosphere. The planet's small size means that its gravity is too weak to hold down a normal atmosphere. There is a very thin atmosphere around the planet. Mercury's thin atmosphere...more
Rainbows appear in the sky when there is bright sunlight and rain. Sunlight is known as visible or white light and is actually a mixture of colors. The sun's rays pass through millions of raindrops. A...more
It takes the Earth one year to travel around the sun one time. During this year, there are four seasons: summer, autumn, winter, and spring. Each season depends on the amount of sunlight reaching the...more
Scientists sometimes travel in airplanes that carry weather instruments in order to gather data about the atmosphere. These research aircraft bring air from the outside into the plane so scientists can...more
An anemometer is a weather instrument used to measure the wind (it can also be called a wind gauge). These instruments can be used in a backyard weather station or on a well-equipped scientific research...more
Thermometers measure temperature. "Thermo" means heat and "meter" means to measure. You can use a thermometer to measure the temperature of many things, including the temperature of...more