mountain temperature erraticism
Anyone know what causes the erratic temperature fluctuations when ascending a mountainside? We were traveling up Mt Evans auto road in Colorado. The temperature was lowering about 5 degrees every 1000 ft, about what is normally expected, then at about 13000 feet the temperature rose 10 degrees in a matter of seconds while we were continuing to ascend and then rapidly fell again. I've seen this before when traveling up a mountain but never quite this dramatic. Is this chinook winds? I don't recall our orientation on the mountain, whether it was the windward or leeward side when it occured. But it does seem to occur around the switchbacks.
This could be something on the mesoscale (like chinook winds), but most likely it was a microscale event. My guess is the sun heated this area faster than the other areas. It could have been sheltered from the wind, rocks were darker colored, the area was bowl shaped, etc.
Just my best guess, which is probably a good one. Since nobody else answered I thought I'd give it a shot.
Sounds like acrobatic cooling again.
So if the temperature can vary by ten degrees in just a few feet, why do people in NH get their weather from Boston stations?
By the way, Bill, Canadians hate being called chinooks.
First we must allow for the fact that the measurement was taken from a not so accurate car thermometer so the quick change in temperature could be just some unexplained mechanical quirk. This explanation carries as much weight as any other given the unusual nature.
We met a few friends while we were up there.
Last edited by nickname; 06-28-2006 at 12:54 AM.