What goes up must come down? Not exactly how barometric pressure works but it is a good starting point to understanding barometric pressure and how it affects our surroundings. So what is it? A barometer measures the air pressure in the environment. You may hear meteorologists talk about barometric pressure in their forecasts because they use it as predictor for future weather patterns. For example, low-pressure weather systems usually lead to cloudiness, wind, and precipitation. High-pressure systems usually lead to fair, calm weather. * Air temperature and altitude impact barometric pressure.
High Barometric Pressure
When the barometric pressure is high, temperature conditions tend to be more comfortable as the amount of oxygen in the air is stable. As air higher in the atmosphere falls, it warms and expands. The expansion of the air in the falling air mass tends to lower its humidity, which reduces or prevents the formation of clouds. Because of this effect, areas of high pressure often have clear, dry weather.**
Low Barometric Pressure
The higher the altitude, the lower the atmospheric pressure, which means the amount of oxygen in the air decreases. That is what mountain climbers need to be careful of the altitude because it will impede their ability to breath easier due to the lack of oxygen. Low barometric pressure actually means the air pressure is rising.
Why Should We Care?
Like humidity, barometric pressure can have an impact on certain environments that require stability in temperature, humidity and air pressure. For example, in a medical setting, because many drugs used for conscious sedation produce respiratory depression and subsequent hypoventilation, monitoring and assessing patient respiratory function during conscious sedation are critical. Likewise, research and development labs will use barometers to measure the barometric pressure at one facility then use that data to replicate the exact same environment at another research lab.
Differential pressure--- applications at nuclear facilities' stability and accuracy allow sensors to be used for long periods of time, which is important because once the sensor wears down, it must be disposed of (sensors cannot be recalibrated because they will be contaminated with radiation).
GPS/Location accuracy-- Barometric pressure can change the accuracy of mobile signals that bounce off cell towers – measuring and compensating for barometric pressure can help pinpoint location, even within a building.
Blood Gas Labs-- barometric pressure can effect the pO2 and pCO2 of the blood. Some gas analyzers have internal barometers that compensate, while some do not, requiring the user to put the pressure correction in themselves.
Advances in monitoring, like the Excursion-Trac™ Barometer, have made it possible to accurately monitor and maintain barometric pressure in a number of environments. The Digital Datalogging Barometer can measure and monitor temperature and humidity along with barometric pressure. It is a perfect unit for plants, labs, and all other environments where there is a need to monitor conditions of environmental air parameters. With continuous LCD monitoring, it simultaneously shows barometric pressure, temperature, and relative humidity.