|Why is air at sea level denser than air at high
|Question Date: 2018-10-09|
Air is denser at sea level than at higher
altitudes because at sea level, the gravity of the
earth is stronger because the air particles are
closer to the mass of the earth (gravity is
distance-dependent; the shorter the distance
between two things, the greater the gravity).
Gravity is one factor. The other major factor is
that at sea level, there is more air pushing down
from above, compacting the air particles and
making the air denser.
Air pressure is due to the weight of air above
you. The higher you go, the less air
above you, so the less pressure you experience.
When pressure is low, the air is compressed
so it is less dense.
The air at sea level is compressed by the weight
of the air above it, which forces it to be denser.
Higher up, there is less pressure, so the air
expands to have a lower density.
This article says the air high up presses down on
the air at sea level:
"At sea level, because air is compressible, the
weight of all that air above us compresses the air
around us, making it denser. As you go up a
mountain, the air becomes less compressed and is
therefore thinner. ... Try using our barometric
pressure calculator to see how air pressure
changes at high altitudes".
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