Learning to use a barometer increases your ability to observe and predict weather patterns. The barometer provides readings of atmospheric pressure—the weight of the air. An Italian physicist, Evangalisto Torricelli, created the barometer in the 17th century. Taking barometer readings over time creates the opportunity to correlate barometer readings with weather conditions. The key to the barometer comes from grasping that the readings are relative. There isn’t a chart saying that the hand pointing to a specific number means a particular type of weather. With guidelines and a notebook, anyone can use a barometer to forecast the weather.
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Check the barometer’s setting. Lightly tap the front of it and see which number the hand indicates.
Call an airport or check the news to learn the barometer reading for your area. To reset the barometer, insert a small screwdriver in the hole in the back of the barometer. Turn the screw until the hand points to the right setting. Set the marking hand to the same setting. The indicator hand that you set with the screw moves when the air pressure changes. The other hand works as a marker so you can see how far the indicator hand moves, and in which direction. Use the knob on the front to set the marking hand even with the indicator hand.
Observe the barometer daily for the first month to become familiar with how the readings relate to weather changes. Note the date, barometer reading and when the pressure rises or falls. Any writing on the barometer—“Fair” or ”Rain,” for example, isn’t as important as the numbers.
Notice how the barometer responds to changes in air pressure. The needle moves clockwise when the atmospheric pressure is rising. Falling air pressure causes the needle to move counter-clockwise.
Make notes of the weather conditions for each date along with the barometer reading. The Utah Education Network (UEN) recommends charting precipitation, wind speed, cloud cover and temperature. Weather reports online include wind speed. Rising barometer readings usually indicate fair weather, notes the UEN; when the air pressure falls, it may rain. High-pressure systems tend to repel storms while low-pressure areas attract them.
Begin predicting weather changes when you notice the direction the barometer’s hand is moving. Checking the barometer regularly allows you to recognise when rain is likely. When you observe the pressure falling--the barometer’s hand moves counter-clockwise--you’ll become accustomed to how the drop in atmospheric pressure relates to weather patterns and their changes.
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