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The interaction between radiation and convection causes the mountain climate to become colder at higher elevations. The ground is heated when visible sunlight hits it. The air at the surface is then heated by the ground. The greenhouse effect of gases in the atmosphere would keep the ground around 333 K (60 °C) if radiation were the only means of transferring heat to space. 140 °F), and as the height increased, the temperature would decrease exponentially.

In any case, when air is hot, it will in general extend, which brings down its thickness. As a result, hot air has a tendency to rise and carry heat upward. Convection is the process here. Convection comes to balance when a package of air at a given elevation has similar thickness as its environmental factors. Air is an unfortunate guide of intensity, so a package of air will rise and fall without trading heat.

A process that exhibits a distinct pressure-temperature dependence is referred to as an adiabatic process. The temperature goes down as the pressure goes down. The adiabatic lapse rate, which is approximately 9.8 °C per kilometer (or 5.4 °F (3.0 °C) per 1000 feet) of elevation, is the rate at which temperature decreases with elevation.