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Atmospheric gases and wind

The temperature of the troposphere is highest near the surface of the Earth and decreases with altitude. On average, the temperature gradient of the troposphere is 6.5oC per 1,000 m (3.6oF per 1,000 ft.) of altitude. What is the source of heat for the troposphere? Earth’s surface is a major source of heat for the troposphere, although nearly all of that heat comes from the Sun. Rock, soil, and water on Earth absorb the Sun’s light and radiate it back into the atmosphere as heat. The temperature is also higher near the surface because of the greater density of gases.

Notice that in the troposphere warmer air is beneath cooler air. What do you think the consequence of this is? This condition is unstable. The warm air near the surface rises and cool air higher in the troposphere sinks. So air in the troposphere does a lot of mixing. This mixing causes the temperature gradient to vary with time and place. The rising and sinking of air in the troposphere means that all of the planet’s weather takes place in the troposphere.Sometimes there is a temperature inversion, air temperature in the troposphere increases with altitude and warm air sits over cold air. Inversions are very stable and may last for several days or even weeks. They form

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