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Lapse Rate

  • By: Miriam Helen Hill
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Lapse rates are the average changes in temperature at different levels in the atmosphere. Four different rates are environmental, normal, dry adiabatic, and wet adiabatic. Each is applied in specifically different situations. The changing temperatures affect the humidity and the climatic patterns. Types of lapse rate, their applications, their relationship to cloud formation and atmospheric lifting, and the environmental hazards are discussed here.

The environmental lapse rate is the actual change in air temperature with altitude at a specific place at a specified time. The temperature depends on current micro- and macro-meteorological conditions. In general, temperatures are expected to decrease with altitude through the troposphere, the lowest temperature zone of the atmosphere. However, temperature variations occur, and the actual situation makes the environmental lapse rate. For ...

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