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The Highs and Lows of Air Pressure



The Highs and Lows of Air Pressure
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 5 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.03

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    lows, millibars, counter-clockwise, clockwise, meteorologists, mass, high-pressure, opposite, low-pressure, affects, humid, gravity, lines, earth, produce, form


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The Highs and Lows of Air Pressure
By Patti Hutchison
  

1     Did you ever walk outside on a hot, humid day and think the air felt heavy? Air has mass, and because of gravity, it is pulled down toward the center of the earth. Usually you don't notice the pressure of air on your body because you are used to it. You may hear the weather forecaster talk about air pressure, but do you know how it affects the weather? What are those H's and L's on the weather map, and what do they mean?
 
2     There are many weather stations in the U.S. Scientists at these stations use many instruments to measure the weather. They use barometers to measure air pressure in units called millibars. Measurements are taken at many stations at exactly the same time. This data is used to help scientists tell what kind of weather is coming in the next hours or days. This is called forecasting.
 
3     Scientists who study the weather are called meteorologists. They receive data from other weather stations and put it all on a large map. They write down air pressure measurements at other locations. They connect places that have the same measurements, kind of like a game of dot to dot. These connections form lines or circles on the map called isobars. Meteorologists study the patterns of these isobars to help them forecast the weather.

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