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Atmospheric Pressure

Atmospheric Pressure

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.

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.


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