If it is true that hot air rises, why is it colder at the tops of mountains?

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  • 1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    well, mostly because of PV=nRT.  There are many different routes to low density.  Once the hot air rises, it is under less pressure so when the heat transfers away to the surroundings, it settles in at a different (lower) pressure than what it had when it started.  Fundamentally, heat transfer is slow relative to work (pressure change).

    You could also look at it as the reality of a temperature gradient from earth surface to cold space.  The closer you get to cold space, the colder the location must be, but given that we are talking a fluid (air), that isn't precisely correct.  It is simply generally correct.

  • 1 month ago

    Because the atmosphere also thins out the higher you go. As that hot air reaches higher elevations, it gets thinned out and distributed as well, cooling it.

  • 1 month ago

    The farther you get from the source of heat, the cooler it gets. Same result as a flame 1 inch away versus 1 yard away or the core of the earth and the top of a mountain.

    However, heat entrapped rises to the top. Same result as the floor versus the roof, in a older house, you can feel the difference

    Omg so much specific detail I could share about this topic, Science is amazing, hope I helped with your great question. 

  • Justin
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    You might be forgetting that there is very cold air ABOVE the mountains which falls. From the perspective of great altitudes, the mountains are 'low' to the ground and are quite warm by comparison. The air is so cold at high altitudes that rising warm air cools. Falling cold air also warms as it sinks down lower to the ground because the lower altitudes consistently remain much warmer.

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  • Bob
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    It cools as it rises

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    I can only assume you have never been skiing.

    It is FAR from cold at the top of a mountain. You will actually feel the temperature drop as you descend.

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