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When climbing a mountain…

When climbing a mountain, why does it get colder as you getting closer to the sun and heat rises, so shouldn�t it be warmer?
Alex from Devon (Aged 15-25)

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One Response

  1. It’s because of the relationship between temperature and pressure.

    When you pressurize air (or any gas), it gets hotter, and when you release the pressure on air it gets colder. For example have you ever noticed that a bicycle pump gets hot when you pump up a tire, and a spray paint can gets cold as you release the pressurized gas? A refrigerator also keeps things cool by putsting both of these processes together, pressurizing gas on the outside of the refrigerator to release heat and decompressing it inside the refrigerator to absorb heat.

    On a mountain the air pressure decreases as altitude increases. As air rises, the pressure decreases. It is this lower pressure at higher altitudes that causes the temperature to be colder on top of a mountain than at sea level.

    Jenny Beard – The BA

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