Nikolov-Zeller slide show


Why does the atmosphere get colder as we climb a mountain?

Death Valley
     California's Death Valley (pictured above) sinks down to 86 meters (282 feet) below sea level.  On July 10th, 1913, the Furnace Creek area reached the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth, a blistering 56.7 degrees Celsius (134 degrees Fahrenheit).  The air pressure at the bottom of Death Valley is about 776 mm Hg.  This high pressure generates heat, and represents a clear example of adiabatic atmospheric warming.



     Atmospheric CO2 levels follow global warming because Earth's oceans emit more CO2 when they get warmer.  There is an approximately 800 year time lag between increases in atmospheric temperatures and increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.  Carbon dioxide does not cause global warming; it follows global warming due to the intrinsic nature of ocean water.  Oceans retain more dissolved CO2 when they get colder and emit more CO2 when they get warmer.  If carbon dioxide actually did increase Earth temperatures due to a greenhouse gas effect, Earth would never recover from a warm period because our vast and deep oceans would continue emitting more carbon dioxide, thus forcing atmospheric temperatures to continue rising without relief.