promotion image of download ymail app
Promoted

why top montains are colder than sea level ?

I was asked this question by my kid. I need an answer :).

9 Answers

Relevance
  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I think your kid is smart by asking this kind of questions.

    The answer is not related with the temperature of the earth but with the temperature of the atmosphere.

    At the sea level you have a pressure of 1 atm, (or 760 mm of Hg) which means that the particles of air are closer one from other.

    At the mountains the pressure is below 1 atm, which means that the particles have more space.

    When the sun light passes through the air at the mountains it heates less particles than at the sea level. At sea level more particles are heated by the sun and such particles move other particles of air heating the environment.

    That occurs on our atmosphere due to the specific attributes of our planet, remember that not all the energy of the sun enters on the atmosphere.

    Remember also the effect of the global warming which is caused by the emmission of CO2 and other gases that keeps the heat in the lower levels of the atmosphere.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Andy S
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    The simple explanation, air pressure decreases as altitude increases. When you pressurize air (or any gas), it gets hotter, and when you release the pressure on air it gets colder.

    However, it's NOT ALWAYS TRUE I'm afraid. There is a phenomenon in meteorology called temperature inversion. Under certain conditions, the normal vertical temperature gradient is inverted such that the air is colder near the surface of the Earth. This can occur when, for example, a warmer, less dense air mass moves over a cooler, more dense air mass. This type of inversion occurs in the vicinity of warm fronts, and also in areas of oceanic upwelling such as along the California coast. With sufficient humidity in the cooler layer, fog is typically present below the inversion cap. An inversion is also produced whenever radiation from the surface of the earth exceeds the amount of radiation received from the sun, which commonly occurs at night, or during the winter when the angle of the sun is very low in the sky. This effect is virtually confined to land regions as the ocean retains heat far longer.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    The atmosphere is made up of lots of tiny (invisible) particles -- molecules. At sea level, the molecules are very close together. They're banging into each other, creating heat and energy. As you go to higher altitudes, the atmosphere gets thinner. There is less "there" to generate and trap heat. As a result, it is closer at the top of a mountain.

    In the old days, people thought mountain tops would be hotter because they are closer to the sun. However, the earth is so far from the sun that it doesn't make any difference. The earth is warm (on its surface) because of an atmosphere thick enough to keep heat in, but not so thick as to make it impossible for life to exist (as on Venus).

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You may already know about the relationship between temperature and pressure: When you pressurize air (or any gas), it gets hotter, and when you release the pressure on air it gets colder. So a bicycle pump gets hot when you pump up a tire, and a spray paint can or a C02 cartridge gets cold as you release the pressurized gas. A refrigerator puts both of these processes together, pressurizing gas on the outside of the refrigerator to release heat and decompressing it inside the refrigerator to absorb heat (see How Refrigerators Work for details).

    You may also know that air pressure decreases as altitude increases. This table shows the pressure (in pounds per square inch) at different altitudes:

    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.

    http://science.howstuffworks.com/question186.htm

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    because the temperature drops as you go above sea level (less air to trap heat)

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    Don't listen to that second person, they don't know what they're talking about. Air is thinner when you're higher up. Thinner air holds less heat.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Its because temperature is directly propotional to pressure. At higher elevations there is less pressure so the temperature decreases.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    because at higher elivation the air is thinner and therefore colder

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    that's coz the closer you are to the center of the earth, the hotter.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.