Why are valleys colder than areas that are higher up?

01 November 2009

Question

Why are valleys colder than areas that are higher up?

Answer

Okay. There's a secondary effect. The world is far more complicated than you'd like to think. That tends to be because cold air falls. So, the valleys at low places on average are warmer. But if you got somewhere which is high up and the air can cool down on the tops of mountains, it's then denser around it and it falls downwards and if it's not falling very far it doesn't compress very much, doesn't get very much hotter so you get, locally very cold air is in bottoms of valleys but globally it's warmer low down and colder higher.

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