Since cold air sinks and hot air rises, why is it cooler the higher up you go into the mountains and not hotter? Does it have something to do with a thinner atmosphere?

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Since cold air sinks and hot air rises, why is it cooler the higher up you go into the mountains and not hotter? Does it have something to do with a thinner atmosphere?

In: Physics

Yeah, it has to do with atmospheric pressure. Higher up you go, less pressure. Same reason water boils at a lower temperature the higher the altitude.

That atmosphere near the ground is heated by the ground which is heated by the sun. This is why air up really high (think airliner high) is really freaking cold.

Interestingly, there actually are regions of the atmosphere (such as most of the stratosphere) in which temperature actually does increase with height. In these regions, because the hot air is on top where it is supposed to be, there is very little mixing between the layers of air.

In the lower atmosphere (troposphere) the air is heated from below by the earth, causing the lower regions to be warmer. When this warm air rises, however, it is able to expand and therefore it cools down. This whole process means that there is a lot of mixing in the lower atmosphere.