Dr. Matthew Fink says in the New York Times that changes in air pressure can cause physical discomfort. Headaches and joint pain are common in low pressure systems, and uncomfortable ear popping can occur as the body tries to equalize the pressure inside its cavities with the changing atmospheric pressure.Know More
ACS Distance Education explains that air pressure is the force exerted by the weight of air molecules. Atmospheric pressure is determined by the amount of air directly above a person or object. At sea level, the atmospheric pressure is 14.7 pounds per square inch, or PSI. At higher altitudes, the PSI decreases due to lower air pressure and density. Skin adjusts easily to changes in pressure, but the cavities within the body, such as the lungs, ears and sinuses, do not adjust automatically. This is why many people experience a popping in their ears while taking off in an airplane or driving through mountains.
Dr. Fink explains other effects that may be felt by the body under these circumstances or during a low pressure weather system. The difference in pressure between the body's cavities and the atmosphere can result in headaches or distension in the sinuses, which are filled with air. People who suffer from arthritis or bursitis may experience joint pain as their muscles and joints swell in response to the decreased pressure on their bodies.Learn more about Biology
As of 2014, a regulation basketball used in NBA play is inflated to an air pressure between 7.5 and 8.5 pounds of pressure per square inch. Many balls are inflated to the average pressure of 8 pounds.Full Answer >
The barometer is a tool that measures air pressure. Barometers are calibrated for a specific unit, that displays the current air pressure of the environment that the tool is exposed to.Full Answer >
Differences in temperature causing differences in air density lead to differences in air pressure. As the temperatures of portions of the atmosphere increase, the air in these portions expands and rises, causing low-pressure regions. Meanwhile, as the temperature decreases, the air contracts and sinks, causing high-pressure regions.Full Answer >
The Italian physicist Evangelista Torricelli was the first to discover air pressure, in the 17th century. Torricelli also developed the mercury barometer, an instrument used to measure air pressure. The measurement of air pressure is used for many things, including blowing up tires and predicting the weather.Full Answer >