From the question Why are pressure levels raised on warm days?, my understanding is that the air pressure at surface level is not affected by temperature, as the mass of the imagined air column stays the same (even though it's extended higher due to lower density). Then, at any given true altitude, warmer temperatures would correspond to higher pressure. The air column analogy makes a lot of sense to me.
However, I was reading NOAA's explanation of atmospheric circulations, which says "This region would become very hot, with hot air rising into the upper atmosphere. This would create a constant belt of low pressure around the equator". That seems to contradict the concept above.
My guess is, in the air column analogy, when the air column is extended higher, it's "leveled out" with the surrounding air, just like water. So we end up with the column with the same original height but lower density, meaning that the total weight at the bottom is lower than before (which means lower pressure). However, if this is true, then the pressure would be lower at any altitude, not just at the surface.
I'm confused now. Please help, thank you!