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Unformatted text preview: Dry Adiabiatic Lapse Rate The "lapse rate" of an atmosphere is the rate at which temperature falls off with height (that is a positive lapse rate is a negative change of temperature with height). The adiabatic lapse rate is that maximum change of temperature with height which is stable to vertical movement: this is usually given as the "dry adiabatic lapse rate" in the case of the earth where there is a significant proportion of water vapour in the atmosphere because the presence of water (with its high latent heat) can make a significant difference to the stability. To explain the adiabatic lapse rate we must look at the stability of an atmosphere. ability of an atmosphere. This will be stable against convective overturning as long as its temperature rises with height. Howevever, even a small fall in temperature with height can be stable because denser air from below rising will expand and thus cool adiabatically: if it cools faster than the temperature drops with height then it will become denser than its surroundings and fall back again (or settle in to...
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 Fall '10
 EmilyHoward
 Astronomy, Thermodynamics, Atmospheric thermodynamics, VDP

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