If you were to jump off a tall building, let's say Burj Khalifa, is it true that the pressure difference would be so strong as to kill you before reaching the ground?

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    $\begingroup$ I've jumped out of aircraft hundreds of times as high as 5km above ground. Your ears notice the pressure difference, but that's all. Jumping from the very tip of Khalifa would give you about 20 seconds to enjoy the scenery, the sudden stop on the pavement is the fatal part. $\endgroup$ – paul Oct 11 '14 at 0:27

No. The answer is clearly no. This building is 800 meter high. Some comparison:

  • Skydivers are falling more kilometers in free fall. They experience absolutely no damage from the pressure increase.
  • Scuba divers moving fast upwardly or downwardly also don't get any wounds, although 10 meter deep water has the same pressure as there is between the sea level air and the space. A sudden decompression can cause bodily harm for them (it is the so-named caisson disease), it requires much bigger compression change, and happens only on decompression. If you fall from the Burj Kalifa, you experience compression (until touchdown).

This small compression change caused at most a little bit of tinnitus, similar we can feel during aircraft landings. It surely won't be the biggest problem of the jumper.

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    $\begingroup$ you experience compression (until touch down). I think you experience the greatest compression "on touch down"... But yes, the answer "no" is correct. $\endgroup$ – Floris Oct 10 '14 at 22:05
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    $\begingroup$ This article suggests that if you jump off an airplane 6 miles up without a parachute there is a non-negligible chance of survival - popularmechanics.com/technology/aviation/safety/4344036. $\endgroup$ – emory Oct 10 '14 at 22:19
  • $\begingroup$ @emory There are even people who survived a such fall. People accelerates until around 200 km/h in free fall, because the air drag. The chances of survival in a 200 km/h frontal crash in a car are very low, but not negligible. $\endgroup$ – peterh - Reinstate Monica Oct 10 '14 at 22:26
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    $\begingroup$ @WetSavannaAnimalakaRodVance - Thanks! :-p it's not the fall that kills you. It is when you stop falling. $\endgroup$ – Floris Oct 11 '14 at 0:48
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    $\begingroup$ @Floris - I guess you have this in mind ;) hugelolcdn.com/i700/188681.jpg $\endgroup$ – Michiel Oct 11 '14 at 6:02

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