Daily BulletinDaily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Zoran Ristovski, Professor, Queensland University of Technology
why is air colder the higher up you go? Curious Kids is a series for children of all ages. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to curiouskidsus@theconversation.com. Why is air colder the higher up you go? Shouldn’t it be hotter as you’re getting closer to the Sun? – Flynn, age 6, Sydney. Thank you Flynn, that’s a great question. A lot of people have probably wondered this. As you may know, hot air rises. So why is it so cold at the top of a mountain? Well, it helps if you imagine the ground here on Earth as a big heater. It keeps us warm, and if you move away from the heater you feel cold. So what “heats up” the heater? The light and warmth from the Sun. Scientists call this light and warmth “radiation”. Light and warmth travel from the Sun The light and warmth from the Sun travel through space towards Earth, and pass through our atmosphere. (The “atmosphere” is what we call the swirling air that surrounds our planet.) But the atmosphere isn’t very good at holding onto the warmth from the Sun. The heat just slips straight through it. (For the adults reading: that’s because air at higher altitudes thins out as the gas particles expand and lose energy.) Eventually, the heat from the Sun hits the ground and the ground soaks it up. This especially happens in forests and oceans, which are very good at absorbing heat. Other places, like snow fields, are more likely to reflect the radiation – meaning it bounces back toward the Sun instead of being soaked up by the ground. why is air colder the higher up you go? The ocean and forests are especially good at soaking up and holding onto heat from the Sun. Pixabay/Stocksnap, CC BY Up, up, up The higher up you go, the further you are away from the “heater” that is keeping us all warm – the ground that has absorbed the warmth from the Sun. At the top of mountains it can get so cold people could die within minutes without special protection. That’s because the air up there is just really bad at “holding onto” the radiation coming from the Sun, and the warmth passes straight through it on its journey toward the ground. And all the way up in space, there is a lot more radiation from the Sun, and astronauts wear special suits to protect themselves from it. But there’s also no air in space, which means there’s really nothing much at all to “hold onto” the warmth of the Sun and make the temperature around you feel warm. So if you were unlucky enough to be caught in space without a suit, you would freeze to death before the Sun’s radiation would get you. Read more: Curious Kids: how is global warming heating up the Earth?

Authors: Zoran Ristovski, Professor, Queensland University of Technology

Read more http://theconversation.com/curious-kids-why-is-air-colder-the-higher-up-you-go-116822

GOLD COAST PREPARES FOR TRAVELLERS TO COME AND PLAY AGAIN

arrow_forward

Hotdesking might not be ‘dead’ after all

arrow_forward

Stunning before and after images of Tahiti

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

$1.8 billion boost for local government

The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government will deliver a $1.8 billion boost for road and community projects through local governments across Australia.   The package of support will help lo...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison press conference

PRIME MINISTER: This is a tough day for Australia, a very tough day. Almost 600,000 jobs have been lost, every one of them devastating for those Australians, for their families, for their commun...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

BOOST FOR BUSHFIRE RECOVERY

Local economic recovery plans will help towns and regions hit by bushfires get back on their feet as part of a new $650 million package of support from the Morrison Government.   As part of th...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Hotdesking might not be ‘dead’ after all

According to Christian Pistauer, Workplace Strategy director of Meta5 Group in Australia, COVID will dramatically change the commercial real estate sector in Australia for many years to come. ”...

Tess Sanders Lazarus - avatar Tess Sanders Lazarus

Office expert: Don't bring your staff back to work until you have done these things

With lockdown restrictions gradually being eased across the country, Australian workplaces are looking at the types of changes needed in order to meet new health and wellness requirements post-l...

Tess Sanders Lazarus - avatar Tess Sanders Lazarus

Major health and wellness brands sign-on to open at Yamanto Central

While COVID restrictions start to ease across the country, plans for Queensland’s newest shopping centre, Yamanto Central, ramp up. Due for completion in the first half of 2021, Yamanto Cent...

Tess Sanders Lazarus - avatar Tess Sanders Lazarus



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion