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Shrinithi Mahadevan

HS-PS1-4

Air pressure at Mount Everest Study Guide

The force exerted by an atmospheric column per unit area is known as atmospheric pressure.

INTRODUCTION

You may have heard people complaining of light-headedness whenever they travel via airplane. Some people may also experience irritation and a strange tingling sensation in their ears. Have you ever wondered why this happens to so many people? This is the result of a sudden change in pressure. Since we live on the earth's surface, our bodies have gotten accustomed to the atmospheric pressure on the surface. So when we get on a plane and go thousands of feet above the ground, we then experience a change in atmospheric pressure that our bodies are not used to. This could also happen when you go to the top of a mountain. So what is atmospheric pressure and how or why does it change with altitude. Let's find out!

plane-dizziness Source

WHAT IS ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE

  • The pressure applied by gas particles colliding with anything in the Earth's atmosphere is known as atmospheric pressure.
  • The force exerted by an atmospheric column per unit area is known as atmospheric pressure.

atmospheric-pressure Source

  • A barometer is an instrument to measure atmospheric pressure. An evacuated tube is submerged in a mercury container in a classic mercury barometer.

VARIATION OF ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE WITH ALTITUDE

  • A mercury column rising from sea level will ascend 760 mm. 760 mmHg is the recorded atmospheric pressure (millimeters of mercury).
  • As altitude increases, the amount of gas molecules in the air decreases—the weight of a column of air over a particular height beyond sea level would be less than that of sea level. As a result, as height increases, the pressure due to the air column decreases.
  • This reduction is exponential rather than linear. The pressure lowers more quickly at first, then gradually diminishes as height increases.
  • The atmospheric pressure at the peak of Mount Everest (elevation 8848 m) is 253 mmHg.

Distribution-of-atmospheric-pressure-and-mass-in-percent-by-altitude Source

  • Atmospheric pressure is an indicator of weather. But weather patterns have little impact on atmospheric pressure.
  • As we can see from the graph, air pressure decreases as height rises. The air pressure at sea level would be just over 100 kPa (one atmosphere or 760 mmHg).

Atmospheric Pressure and Altitude Source

  • The air pressure will decrease too little, over 30 kPa, if we get to the summit of Mount Everest (the world's tallest peak).
  • Because of the dramatic drop in air pressure, oxygen levels are drastically reduced.
  • To breathe at these high elevations, teams climbing this peak must bring oxygen supply with them.

CONCLUSION:

The force exerted by an atmospheric column per unit area is known as atmospheric pressure. The atmospheric pressure at the peak of Mount Everest (elevation 8848 m) is 253 mmHg.

FAQs:

1. What is the air pressure at the top of Mt. Everest?

Based on measurements, the peak pressure of 251–253 Torr at the peak of Mt. Everest, the world's highest mountain, is around 1/3rd of sea level.

2. What happens to air pressure as you climb Mt. Everest?

The air pressure will decrease little, over 30 kPa, if we journey to the summit of Mount Everest, the world's highest peak at 8848 meters.

3. What is the pressure at Mount Everest in ATM?

0.3326 ATM is the pressure at the peak of Mount Everest in the ATM unit

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SOURCES:

  1. Variation of Atmospheric Pressure with altitude: https://www.toppr.com/ask/content/concept/variation-of-atmospheric-pressure-with-altitude-208847/ Accessed 21 Feb 2022
  2. Atmospheric pressure: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/cheminter/chapter/atmospheric-pressure/ Accessed 21 Feb 2022
  3. Atmospheric pressure: https://www.britannica.com/science/atmospheric-pressure Accessed 21 Feb 2022.