Q&A

Why does temperature get colder as you go up in elevation?

Why does temperature get colder as you go up in elevation?

As you increase in elevation, there is less air above you thus the pressure decreases. As the pressure decreases, air molecules spread out further (i.e. air expands), and the temperature decreases.

Why does a mass of air get cooler as it rises over a mountain?

As air rises, it expands because there is less atmospheric pressure at higher altitudes. As air expands, it cools. Cool air holds less mois- ture, rain falls and the cloud loses moisture. After it passes over the mountain, it drops down in elevation and the air becomes compressed and becomes warmer.

Why does air cool as it rises and warm as it sinks?

A thin layer of air above it gets warmer and, since warmer air is less dense, it rises then, cools down by the adiabatic effect of a lesser pressure aloft. As it does, it lowers the atmospheric pressure. During the night, cold air from above sinks and that, in turn, increases slightly the pressure.

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Why is the rising hot air cooler at the top of the mountain than near sea level?

As air rises, the pressure decreases. It is this lower pressure at higher altitudes that causes the temperature to be colder on top of a mountain than at sea level.

Does cool air sink or rise?

Conventional knowledge has it that warm air rises while cold air sinks. But a study from the University of California, Davis, found that in the tropical atmosphere, cold air rises due to an overlooked effect — the lightness of water vapor. Meanwhile, warm, dry air sinks in clear skies.

Why does hot air go upwards?

As the molecules heat and move faster, they are moving apart. So air, like most other substances, expands when heated and contracts when cooled. Because there is more space between the molecules, the air is less dense than the surrounding matter and the hot air floats upward.

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What is the warmest place on Earth?

Death Valley, California, USA The aptly named Furnace Creek currently holds the record for hottest air temperature ever recorded. The desert valley reached highs of 56.7C in the summer of 1913, which would apparently push the limits of human survival.

Why does it feel hotter at higher altitudes?

The basic answer is that the farther away you get from the earth, the thinner the atmosphere gets. The total heat content of a system is directly related to the amount of matter present, so it is cooler at higher elevations.

Why is air cooler at higher elevations?

Air at higher elevations is cooler because the pressure is lower. Gases expand at lower pressures. As a gas expands, the molecules (and atoms) within it move more slowly. Since air temperature is just a measure of how fast the molecules in air are moving, the rate of motion of molecules and the temperature are both lower at higher elevations.

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What happens to the air at high altitudes?

(For the adults reading: that’s because air at higher altitudes thins out as the gas particles expand and lose energy.) Eventually, the heat from the Sun hits the ground and the ground soaks it up.

Why is it colder at the top of the atmosphere?

Answer. The reason it’s actually colder is because, as you go up in the atmosphere, the Earth’s atmosphere feels less pressure the higher up you go. So as the gas in the atmosphere rises it feels less pressure, which makes it expand. When the gas expands it does some work. And and if it’s doing work, it must be losing some energy;

What happens to air as it rises in the atmosphere?

In the earths atmosphere, pressure, which is related to the number of molecules per unit volume, decreases exponentially with altitude. Thus, if a parcel of air from the surface rises (because of wind flowing up the side of a mountain, for example), it undergoes an expansion, from higher to lower pressure. When you allow air to expand, it cools.