UNDER PRESSURE FACTS
Is There Less Oxygen in the Mountains?
Mountain climbers often talk about difficulty in breathing when climbing mountains. What most people say to that is “Oh, that’s because there’s less oxygen up there in the mountains.” That is wrong! There is virtually the same amount of oxygen in the mountains as at the sea level.
How Big Is Earth’s Atmosphere?
The atmosphere is big, and it’s just incredibly big. Compared to people, anyway. The part that can be measured goes up to about 25 miles. Beyond that, it is only guesswork mostly. The scientifically accepted approximation is between 200 and 300 miles. It is impossible to say where the Earth’s atmosphere ends because the air thins out gradually becoming what we call “outer space.”
Why Do Ears Pop in the Airplane?
If you ever flew in a plane, you probably noticed how when the plane is ascending into the clouds as well as during landing, your ears seem to pop. This is actually a good thing and nothing to be worried about. This slightly uncomfortable feeling is caused by internal mechanisms of balancing of the air pressure outside and inside your body.
Air Pressure Can Ruin Your Favorite Recipes
Air Pressure Can Ruin Your Favorite Recipes
If you decide to cook in the wilderness, you also have to take air pressure into account. Usually the fresh water boils at about 202 degrees Fahrenheit. The boiling point of water is the temperature at which the water vapor pressure is equal to the atmospheric pressure around the water. However, when you are up in the mountains, where the air pressure is lower, you would have to adjust your recipes. Using this feature, by the way, you can measure the elevation at which you are at the moment. This method was used by explorers back in XIX century.
Natural Mechanisms: Coriolis Effect
What is interesting about the Coriolis Effect is that it in the Northern hemisphere, the low-pressure air spirals counterclockwise and inward. For example, hurricanes are Coriolis mechanisms, and they spiral counterclockwise. In contrast, high-pressure air spirals clockwise and outward from the center. In the Southern hemisphere, the directions of rotation are reversed.
The Largest Barometer in the World
By the way, a water barometer was created in the Netherlands in 1985. It is called Bert Bolle Barometer after its creator. This barometer is recognized as the largest barometer in the world by Guinness Book of Records and is over 40 feet high!
How Do You Measure Air Pressure?
To measure the weight of air, a special instrument is used called a barometer. Back in 1643, an Italian physicist and mathematician Evangelista Torricelli proved you could weigh the atmosphere against a column of mercury. The instrument Torricelli used looked like an open end of a glass tube placed in an open dish of mercury. Due to air pressure, the mercury was forced to rise up the tube.
What Does Air Pressure Have to Do With Weather?
Whenever there is a weather forecast, air pressure is also mentioned. How are weather and air pressure connected? When the level of air pressure is high, you can expect colder weather and clear skies. When the air pressure is reported to be low, the weather will be warm, but there might be rain or a storm.
How Air Pressure Changes?
We keep hearing about the air pressure changes. However, why and how does it change, if there’s seemingly the same mass of air above the ground? This mystery was solved by discovering what scientists call “Coriolis Effect.” What it means is because of unequal heat coming from the Sun, temperatures vary over the globe. Equator is always considerably warmer than the temperatures you encounter at the poles. Warm air rises and moves toward the poles and colder and heavier air sinks toward the equator.
That’s Too Much Pressure!
When you realize just how much air pressure is exerted on you every moment of your life, it suddenly becomes clear why it is so hard to get oneself out of bed in the morning. However, why doesn’t the air simply squish you? The answer is simple: our bodies also has air inside of it, so the pressure is balanced.
How Much Pressure Are You Under?
Scientists are notorious at measuring everything they can measure. That includes air. They have calculated that Earth’s atmosphere is pressing against every square inch of you with a force of 14.7 pounds! An area a bit larger than a square foot would be under a ton of pressure, quite literally.
Have you ever tried to weigh air? Seems like an impossible (not to mention, silly) idea. Air is weightless… right? In fact, we don’t notice the constant heavy weight on our shoulders simply because we’re used to it, and it is essential for our survival. However, the atmosphere is quite heavy.
What Does Air Consist of?
We often talk about oxygen and air as being one and the same. In fact, the composition of air is different. Earth’s atmosphere consists of 21% of life-giving oxygen, 78% of nitrogen, and 1% of other various gases. Never thought you were also breathing nitrogen, did you?
Why Is It So Hard to Breathe in the Mountains?
The difficulty in breathing is caused by the difference in air pressure. We spend most of our lives near the sea level (unless you were born high in the mountains, and your parents lived there all their life as well). The air pressure is the force that helps air to get into our lungs and squeezes oxygen out of it and into our bloodstream.
Posted on December 5, 2013, in ARTICLES, IMAGES and tagged air, article, barometer, ears pop, earth, effect, facts, luchtdruk, natural mechanisms, nature, post, science, under pressure, under pressure facts, water. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.