Saturday, November 05, 2016

Random Geology Photo - Air Temperature Gradient on a Mountain Range

One of the things that I love most about the transition from fall to winter is the time of year when it is not cold enough for snow to fall in the valley but it will fall on the mountains as seen below. I had previously published a similar, although not quite as good (in my opinion), photo on this blog before.

The air temperature gradient as seen along the Oquirrh Mts in Utah.

As you move up in the atmosphere the temperature decreases. As described at, this temperature gradient depends on the weather outside. On cloudy and snowy days the change in temperature is about 3.3°F per 1,000 ft in elevation or up to 5.4°F on sunny days. 

The best thing that I love about this picture is that it highlights the slope in the land. When you are driving out here you don't realize how much elevation gain there is driving south (the right side of the photo). As you can see the snow line meets the valley surface on the right (south) side of the image. The right (south) side is approximately 600-700 feet higher in elevation than the left (north) side of the image which runs into the Great Salt Lake (just off the picture to the left). The snow line then produces not only a topographic contour (line of equal elevation) but also a isotherm (a line of equal temperature). 


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