Frequently occurs on clear nights.Radiative cooling occurs at Earth’s surface, resulting in the ground and air next to the Earth’s surface cooling more rapidly than the air aloft.Temperature inversions trap pollutantsin a narrow zone near Earth’s surface.
Stable AirCan produce clouds even though it resists upward movement.Processes (lifting mechanisms) do exist which forcestable air aloft.When stable air is forced aloft, the clouds produced are widespreadand have very little vertical thicknesscompared with their horizontal dimension.Precipitation is light to moderate.On a dreary, overcast day with light drizzle, stable airwas forced aloft.Widespread fog is another sign of stability.
Absolute InstabilityOccurs when the environmental lapse rate is greater thenthe dry adiabatic rate.When absolute instability conditions exist, the ascending parcel of air is always warmerthan its environment and will continue to risebecause of its own buoyancy.Absolute instability occurs most often during the warmest monthsand on clear days when solar heating is intense.When the lowermost layerof the atmosphere is heated to a much higher temperaturethan the air aloft, the result is a very steep environmental lapse rateand a very unstable atmosphere.This type of instability, caused by strong surface heating, is generally confined to the first few miles(kilometers) of the atmosphere..
Above a few miles(kilometers), the environmental lapse rate assumes a more “normal” value.This results in the temperature dropping slowly with altitude, creating a more stable temperature regime.Clouds produced only by surface heatinglack great vertical height, and thus rarelyproduce violent weather. These clouds may produce short, heavy rains, but are usually widely scattered. These rains and clouds are
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