Polar vortex: The science behind the cold

The polar vortex, a swirl of low-pressure air six miles up in the atmosphere, blasted much of the American Midwest and Northeast in late January 2019 with temperatures cold enough to bring on frostbite within minutes.

Let's store solar and wind energy – by using compressed air

Electricity generated by fossil fuels is increasingly unsustainable and a shift towards renewable energy – principally from the sun and wind – is vital. Renewable generation is already less expensive per unit than its ...

NASA head: Space station hole cause will be determined

The head of the U.S. space agency said Tuesday that he's sure that investigators will determine the cause of a mysterious hole that appeared on the International Space Station, which his Russian counterpart has said was deliberately ...

Small birds fly at high altitudes towards Africa

A new study from Lund University in Sweden shows that small birds migrating from Scandinavia to Africa in the autumn occasionally fly as high as 4,000 metres above sea level—probably adjusting their flight to take advantage ...

How smart is your city?

The proportion of the world's population that lives in cities is growing quickly. This means that we need to develop strategies for infrastructure, water supply, habitation, and climate adaptation, in all cities around the ...

Low pressure reduces bubble trouble

Spray coating and inkjet-based electronics manufacture are among the industrial applications in which liquid droplets are applied to a surface. But minuscule air bubbles that get trapped beneath the droplet as it lands can ...

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Atmospheric pressure

Atmospheric pressure is sometimes defined as the force per unit area exerted against a surface by the weight of air above that surface at any given point in the Earth's atmosphere. In most circumstances atmospheric pressure is closely approximated by the hydrostatic pressure caused by the weight of air above the measurement point. Low pressure areas have less atmospheric mass above their location, whereas high pressure areas have more atmospheric mass above their location. Similarly, as elevation increases there is less overlying atmospheric mass, so that pressure decreases with increasing elevation. A column of air one square inch in cross-section, measured from sea level to the top of the atmosphere, would weigh approximately 65.5 newtons (14.7 lbf). The weight of a 1 m2 (11 sq ft) column of air would be about 101 kN (10.3 tf).

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