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From my 8 year old daughter Ella; We know that hot air goes up (the top bunk is always hotter than the bottom bunk) but why when we go up the mountain my mum says to dress warm as it is colder the higher you go?

Question submitted by Sarah Renzoni
(West Vancouver, BC)

In the wonderful words of Einstein "it's all relative"!

You see on a small scale, relative ambient air temperatures are the driving force of air circulation. As your mother notes, Ella, warm air rises and cold air sinks. However on a much much larger scale, (weather systems and atmospheric layering scale) the air thins with height. Less air means less trapped warmth. So the higher you go, say up a mountain, generally the cooler the air. However this is not always the case.. sometimes a layer of warm air can be found on top of a mountain - what is meteorologically known as an "inversion". This occurs where cold arctic has sunk and travelled into a valley floor.. forcing warm air to rise above it.. much like as Mum notes, happens with your bunk beds!

Hope this answers your question!

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