Why sometimes temperature increases with altitude

Why sometimes temperature increases with altitude

Posted by Manisha on March 04, 2020

In a normal situation, there is a decrease in temperature with altitude in the Troposphere. It decreases by 1 degree Celsius with every 165 meters of altitude i.e. 6.4 degree Celsius at 1 km altitude. The process is known as Normal Lapse Rate.

However, sometimes this process gets just reverse due to geological conditions for that particular area. Which means temperature starts increasing instead of decreasing with altitude and the process is known as Inversion of Temperature. As a result in Troposphere, a layer of cool air at the surface is over the line by a layer of warmer air. For inversion of temperature following geological conditions are helpful, these are —

  • Long Nights: outgoing radiation is greater than the incoming radiations.
  • Clear Sky: allow the unobstructed escape of radiations.
  • Calm Air: no vertical mixing at a lower level.
  • The slope of Vally.
  • The entrance of Cold Air Masses.
  • Snow Covered Regions.

In the presence of all the above geological conditions, at a particular area, one can find the increase in temperature with the increase in altitude instead of a decrease in temperature. And above all mentioned geological conditions provide the reason for inversion of temperature.

This inversion of temperature generally occurs in the Mountainous region, polar region, and in the winter season. In mountains, it occurs because of the slope elevation, in the polar region due to the cold surface and in winters, due to a long cold night and clear sky. Thus, inversion of temperature broadly classified into four types, are as follows —

  1. Surface or ground inversion of temperature.
  2. Upper surface or subsidence inversion of temperature.
  3. Advectional or frontal inversion of temperature
  4. Air drainage type of inversion or temperature inversion in intermontane valley.

At last, it could be concluded with the facts that yes it happens. Temperature sometimes increases with the increase in altitude due to the above mentioned geological conditions for that particular area.