Way above my pay grade but let’s think about the role of barometric pressure

31 Dec

The current discussion at Tallbloke’s Talkshop and What’s Up with that is something called “Unified Climate Theory”. It is way above my paygrade, but something that came to mind as I was trying to decipher the exchange regarding pressure, was the role of barometric pressure with regard to climate.

Something that is not well understood by both patients and doctors, is the way in which some people with arthritis are affected by changes in barometric pressure and the weather. This is something that I understand, and will openly giggle about because of the ability to predict (sometimes) the coming storm or changes in the weather.

As someone who has had a lot of ankle accidents, I had noticed by the time I was about 19 years of age that my ankle used to hurt a lot several hours before an oncoming storm. On one particular occasion, and much to my amusement I came within half an hour of predicting the start of the storm. This is probably the most extreme example of the occurrence. During this last winter it was bone chilling cold and by this I mean that the cold temperatures in Canberra caused my bones to chill. On top of that the nerves in my face were affected by strong winds. Now that it is summer again, and that bone pain has disappeared, but in its place is the nagging pain that causes me to limp because it affects my left ankle, when a storm is about to hit. It has happened several times in recent weeks.  This is what happens when someone is affected by “the weather”. The question to ask is whether or not such reactions are linked to barometric pressure.

What has this got to do with the subject of pressure and climate? Not a lot, if I was to try and understand the comments made at “What’s Up With That”. Yet, it was those comments that got me to thinking about barometric pressure. So what other times have I had some experience with pressure? The obvious one is inside an aircraft, since when flying my ears will pop as we begin to descend for a landing. In fact pressure could be the reason that I was unwell on the flight between Sydney and Los Angeles. 

The pressure inside an aircraft cabin is actually a good example for a number of reasons. The cabin in flight needs to be stable. If something happens that interferes with the air pressure inside the cabin, then it might be necessary to use the oxygen masks.

Another minor example relates to mountain climbing, where at certain heights it is necessary for the climbers to use oxygen tanks because the air is so thick and the oxygen is so thin. 

Despite these examples though, there is no way to clearly understand the role of various gases in the atmosphere. This is especially true about the role of carbon dioxide. I do think however, that it does not behave in the way as described by climate pseudo-scientists such as Mann, Hansen and Jones.

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Posted by on December 31, 2011 in Uncategorized


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