Barometric Pressure

A cowboy singer who I believe is no longer whinnying among us – perhaps its was John Denver – wrote a song called “Rocky Mountain High”.

And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky
You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply
Rocky mountain high

The ’70s song was briefly controversial for promoting drug abuse. It never affected me that way.  I fully accept the intended meaning of high one gets upon seeing the Rockies and from the concurrent atmospheric pressure on those superb days of clear blue sky and thin dry air.

Lowpressure systems are associated with clouds and precipitation that minimize temperature changes throughout the day, whereas highpressure systems normally associate with dry weather and mostly clear skies with larger diurnal temperature changes due to greater radiation at night and greater sunshine during the day.

I learned to ski in the Rocky Mountains while vacationing at a chalet or lodge on Mount Temple.  It was a demanding education.  Though I confined my pursuit to the top portion of the mountain, I understood from talking with others that it required a full day to descend the mountain from top to bottom.  We took a huge snowmobile from the base of the mountain to the chalet at the top. The chalet accommodated maximum 17 people including staff.  We (my parents, sister and I) were the only visitors there at the time. There was a good deal of time spent lingering in the rustic ambience of the drawing room with fireplace, playing board games, contemplating the next meal or falling asleep after an exhausting day on the slopes. I recall as well that falling on the slopes was quite tolerable because the snow was thick powder.

Mount Temple is a mountain in Banff National Park of the Canadian Rockies of Alberta, Canada.
Mt. Temple is located in the Bow River Valley between Paradise Creek and Moraine Creek and is the highest peak in the Lake Louise area. The peak dominates the western landscape along the Trans-Canada Highway from Castle Junction to Lake Louise.

We are I believe experiencing a “high” at the moment.  If the weather forecast can be trusted we’re in for a week of this extraordinary weather.  The temperature is anticipated to climb to 14°C under absolutely cloudless sky. It is all part of what we hope is a succession of fine weather and a promise of great things to come.

At low altitudes above sea level, the pressure decreases by about 1.2 kPa (12 hPa) for every 100 metres. For higher altitudes within the troposphere, the following equation (the barometric formula) relates atmospheric pressure p to altitude h:

A high pressure especially when combined as it was this morning while bicycling with a frozen NW 21 km/hr wind is clarifying to an Olympic degree. Notwithstanding the cold, it was beyond refreshing! It is an intellectual exercise that cleanses the mind of contamination and enables the heart to embrace the world.