Ask Storm Team 11: What is a temperature inversion?

Weather

Tuesday’s Ask Storm Team 11 question was “What is a temperature inversion?”

In a normal temperature profile of the atmosphere, the ground is warmer than the air above it because the sun warms the ground more directly.

Air tends to cool as you work your way up. That’s why the mountains are usually colder than the valleys, but that’s not always the case.

When you have a temperature inversion, the opposite occurs.

Colder air sinks to the valleys and it’s warmer on the hills and mountain tops.

A temperature inversion can have noticeable effects, too. It tends to trap smoke close to the ground instead of rising up through the air.

Have a question for Storm Team 11? Click here to submit!

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