In the module on forces in the atmosphere, we discussed the fact that the gravity/centrifugal forces and the vertical pressure gradient forces were essentially balancing each other. In this module, we will combine that information with the ideal gas law (which I hope you remember from high school, but which we'll review anyway) to see how pressure, temperature, and height are related in the atmosphere. This module is a necessary step on the road to understanding wind and weather.


  1. To learn and understand the hydrostatic equation.

  2. To understand the relationship between temperature and the vertical pressure gradient.

  3. To use your knowledge of the distribution of temperature in the atmosphere to understand the distribution of pressure in the atmosphere.


  1. The Vertical Balance of Forces: The Hydrostatic Equation
  2. Interpretation of the Hydrostatic Equation
  3. Solution to Problem
  4. Pressure, Temperature and Density
  5. Pressure, Temperature and Density Continued
  6. The Relationship Between Pressure and Temperature
  7. The Relationship Between Pressure and Temperature Continued
  8. The Relationship Between Pressure and Temperature Continued
  9. Summary

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