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How do I convert millibars (or hectopascals) to inches (or millimetres) of mercury?

In the 17th century, when the concept of the barometer was first developed and refined by Torricelli & Pascal (amongst others), atmospheric pressure values were noted in terms of the height of the mercury column supported within a tube which had one end closed and the other end immersed in a bath of the liquid exposed to the atmosphere. Barometers continued to be marked in units of length (inches or mm of mercury) long after aneroid barometers became a common instrument - hence even today it is not unusual to see barometers marked in either inches (British / Imperial and US sources) or millimetres (European / Continental sources).


1 millibar (or hectopascal/hPa), is equivalent to 0.02953 inches of mercury (Hg). It is therefore only necessary to multiply a reading in millibars by the latter figure, to achieve the required conversion. E.g. for 1023 mbar, multiply by 0.02953=30.21 inches. To go the other way, the relationship is 1 inch of mercury=33.8639 mbar; again as an example, to convert 29.45 inches, multiply by 33.8639=997 mbar. (For those of you reading this on the continent, you are more likely to be dealing with millimetres, and the appropriate conversions are: 1 mbar=0.750062 mm Hg and 1 mm Hg=1.333224 mbar. )