The Physics
Factbook
An encyclopedia of scientific essays

Pressure on Earth, Highest

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Did You Know? Met Office: Education- Curriculum Learning Center. "The highest barometer reading recorded in the world is 1083 mb at Agata, Siberia on 31st December 1968." 108.3 kPa
Lide, David R. Handbook of Chemistry and Physics 79th edition. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 1998-1999: 14-17. [At an altitude of -5000m, the standard pressure is 1.075E+05 Pa.] 107.5 kPa
Tokay, Ali. Air Pressure. University of Maryland Baltimore County. "The lowest sea level air pressure ever recorded was 870 mb (25.69 in.) in the eye of Typhoon (Tip) over the Pacific Ocean, whereas the highest sea level air pressure ever recorded was 1084 mb (32.01 in.) at Siberia associated with an extremely cold air mass." 108.4 kPa

Meteorologists often indicate changes in atmospheric pressure over different areas of land. Pressure is not a fixed value; rather, it varies with environmental factors, such as altitude and temperature. Atmospheric pressure is also known as barometric pressure or air pressure. Simply put, it is a force exerted by the weight of the atmosphere pushing down on a given area.

The standard pressure on earth at sea level is 101.325 kPa by definition. However, different climatic conditions will change the air pressure of different regions. Temperature changes will cause changes in air pressure. As air temperature increases, it expands and its pressure will decrease. Some of the highest pressures were measured in Siberian winters, where the environment is frigid. Since pressure is dependent on the weight of the air above a certain area, if there are more air molecules above it, consequently, the pressure will increase. At low altitudes, pressure readings are generally high because the density of molecules above that area is high. The lowest point on earth, known as the Dead Sea is located more than 400 meters below sea level. The pressure of the atmosphere there is known to be extremely high, enough to filter the sun's UV rays.

Meteorologists use a device called the barometer to measure pressure. Pressure affects our daily lives because it was be used to predict weather. High pressures are signs of cool temperatures and clear skies, while low pressures foreshadow warmer temperatures and chances of rain. Changes in air pressure bring about the development of winds. As air moves from areas of high pressure to areas low, winds are produced. Pressure plays a big role in our everyday lives as it helps us determine weather patterns, which may be especially useful for aircraft workers and people with weather dependent professions.

Florence Hang -- 2005