A barometer is a instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure. It is commonly used in meteorology, and uses air, water or mercury to measure short-term changes in the weather.
Barometers are important tools for predicting the weather because changes in pressure signal different kinds of weather events. They can help determine wind direction and the likelihood of precipitation, and high air pressure generally means fair weather is on the way. Barometers work like this: a glass tube with no air in it is placed into mercury. The air pressure outside of the tube determines how much mercury will then be pushed up into the tube. This is measured either in inches (U.S.) or millibars of mercury in the tube.
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