This question already has an answer here:

I read some of the answers on Does hot air really rise?

But then I thought of places like Mount Everest and its summit. Why is it freezing and cold? If hot air rises shouldn't it be like a desert up there?


marked as duplicate by Diracology, David Hammen, Qmechanic Feb 5 '17 at 22:43

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.


As the hot air rises it keeps losing heat to the surrounding particles. It goes on expanding and thus the Kinetic energy decreases due to lesser collisions with other particles. At high altitudes, the main cause of the cold is lesser pressure of the atmosphere. As particles are spread apart, at greater distances than usual, it makes it cold due to the reason as before, ie, less collisions and less kinetic energy.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ this explanation is not correct. Dry rising air performs adiabatic expansion, i.e. expansion without exchange of heat with the environment. The number of collisions does not influence the temperature. $\endgroup$ – Floyd Feb 6 '17 at 1:07

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.