Yes, a barometer will work on land or water.This is probably a stupid question, and here it goes:
Will a barometer, calibrated to altitude on land and synchronized to a local airport's reading, give the same indication of weather change as one, correctly setup, but operating on a large body of water i.e. wind strength, etc? Or does the large water body impart other properties to the air mass and cause different indications?
It depends, some storms, like the regularly occurring summer afternoon thunderstorms won't cause a shift in pressure-since they're fairly localized phenomena and due to thermal differences-not caused by a low pressure system. A better use of a barometer is to look at the rate of air pressure change, rather than the actual change. If the pressure drops quickly, you're more likely in for a bad storm than if it drops gradually. Of course, this generally only warns of frontal systems, rather than localized phenomena.I have recently purchased a barometer and I'm trying to sensitize my awareness of its daily changes and predictions. I'm about 60 statute miles inland from the southern coast of California. We have lately received more El Nino activity than usual.
It seems that some fronts bring lots of rain with little change on the glass. Other times the needle moves 5-8 millibars and nothing happens, weather wise. I did however, detect a low system with wind and rain from a 24 hour, 8 millibar drop, last week. Of coarse the local news and NOAA spotted it for me, earlier than my $130 Weems & Plath.
Of course, the variety of weather you're going to see in southern California is a bit more limited than it would be say in New England or the Midwest, where you get cold air masses coming down from Canada hitting warm air masses coming up from the Gulf of Mexico.
How should I use this seemingly antiquated and beautiful instrument? Is it something that you salt dogs use or am I playing too much at nostalgia?
I have no boat. So I'm waiting for my equities to heal or my bailout to come and I play sea captain with my little toy.