Aneroid Barometer: Definition & Uses

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  • 0:00 Definition
  • 1:36 How it Works
  • 2:18 Uses
  • 2:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Changes in atmospheric pressure can affect everything from the weather to your quality of sleep. In this lesson, we'll discuss the definition and uses of a tool used to measure atmospheric pressure: the aneroid barometer.


You toss and turn at night, unable to sleep. You have no idea why this might be. You didn't drink too much coffee or soda. You didn't go for a run too close to bedtime. You didn't eat too many sweets today.

When you go to school or work, you tell a few friends or coworkers about it, and you discover that many others had the same unfortunate experience last night. Oddly enough, this lack of sleep may be connected to something you may not have thought of - the weather.

Humans can actually perceive changes in atmospheric pressure, which can be thought of as the weight of the air in a particular area. Now, we don't have a sixth sense for it. It's not like someone can close their eyes and say, 'The pressure just changed by two percent!' But, our tissues and muscles can tell when pressure is changing significantly.

You may have heard someone at one time or another say something along the lines of, 'Whenever my knee hurts, it's going to rain.' This might actually be true, but it's more likely a perception of the pressure changing and not necessarily impending rain. At night, if pressure changes drastically, a wide range of people may experience a sleepless night.

Several factors affect the measurement of atmospheric pressure, including the temperature and amount of moisture in the air. Changes in pressure cause changes in weather - sometimes good, sometimes very bad. Any tool designed to measure atmospheric pressure is called a barometer, and one type - and the focus of this lesson - is the aneroid barometer.

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