Air Flows From High Pressure To Low Pressure Area Barometric Pressure and How It Affects Animals

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Barometric Pressure and How It Affects Animals

Barometric pressure directly affects life around us. Atmospheric pressure levels are constantly changing, and sudden changes can cause health problems ranging from migraines in people to affecting animal behavior. Barometric pressure is a highly searched term in the United States with an average of 201,000 searches per month and over 300,000 searches with the spelling of barometric pressure.

Barometric pressure measures the amount of downward force exerted by the atmosphere within a specific air column. Barometric pressure travels with respect to peaks, plateaus and valleys and rises and falls accordingly. Atmospheric pressure is the main tool for predicting weather 12 to 24 hours in advance and has a 70% accuracy rate. A pressure sensor will detect a drop in atmospheric pressure as it approaches bad weather. Generally, pressure drops in front of a weather system and then increases as the weather system moves out of the area. High pressure usually brings bright, blue, clear days or nights while normal pressure periods bring scattered clouds. As the barometer drops, expect clouds to increase and possibly thunderstorms as the barometric pressure drops.

Just as people can feel the effects of barometric pressure changes in the form of earaches, dizziness, or headaches, animals are also affected by pressure changes. Many animals depend on scent, and scent depends on atmospheric pressure. When in a low pressure area, the scent will travel further and further into the atmosphere, but as the millibars continue to drop due to rain, fog or snow, the scent will hug the ground and last longer. On high pressure days, the scent will dissipate quickly.

The overall relationship between barometric pressure and changing climate results in changes in animal behavior. Hunters and anglers alike monitor sudden drops in millibars to predict increases in animal movement. This increase in movement can be attributed to animals or fish anticipating bad weather and the tendency to survive by storing energy to survive during periods of disturbance associated with prolonged storms.

Hunters, anglers, and those sensitive to changes in barometric pressure can benefit from monitoring and tracking barometric pressure readings on gauges and home weather stations. There are many types of pressure sensors and monitors available in the market. Prices on eBay range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars for home weather stations that come with various external sensors to measure wind direction, barometric pressure, temperature, and humidity. The barometric pressure sensor on most models tracks pressure readings over the past 24 hours allowing the user to determine whether the pressure is stable, rising, or falling at any given time. The following devices are popular with weather monitoring enthusiasts:

The Honeywell TE923 is a deluxe weather station that costs $200 to $300 from Amazon.com and uses external sensors such as a barometric pressure sensor, a temperature and humidity sensor, a UV sensor to measure harmful UV levels, and a wind and rain sensor.

The MFJ 196RC Deluxe Wireless Atomic Weather Station is offered on eBay for slightly less than $200 and uses outdoor weather sensors to measure and display barometric pressure changes, wind direction, temperature and humidity.

One of the downfalls of these types of home weather stations is the difficulty in storing these measurements. All the monitors I’ve seen on ebay and amazon display roughly the same information with the same graphics. The Honeywell Weather Station stores 24-hour atmospheric pressure readings, while the MFJ Weather Station stores 12- to 20-hour readings. From what I can tell, these popular models don’t write every data point to the external system or its memory for long-term analysis. Don’t let NOAA collect this type of data from across the country deter you from exploring or purchasing one of these weather stations. I believe you can subscribe to their feed and fetch historical and current data for a specific area.

Spending time and money to observe and track barometric pressure changes can help determine what kind of behavior animals will exhibit. By understanding how the rise and fall of barometric pressure readings will affect animal behavior, hunters or anglers can more effectively strategize how to hunt or fish.

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