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Gravity pulls down the atmosphere thus creating higher Atmospheric Pressure close to the surface, This pressure is adding Force to air molecules, and since Heat is essentially adding force to molecules, will the measured temprature on the surface be higher than the tempratures at higher altitudes?

I know that in our everyday life we witness cold tempratures at High altitudes, and warm tempratures at lower altitues, but i dont know if that is because of the heat earth absorb from the sun or because of the atmospheric pressure

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The Earth is thought to have been formed from the same dust cloud that the Sun formed from. We are, in a sense, the left-overs of the Sun's formation.

So the scenario you're asking about makes no sense.

If (somehow) Earth ended up moving through interstellar space unbound to a star then we'd simply freeze.

It's probably useful to read this Wikipedia article on Earth's Internal Heat Budget.

As you can see from this we get about 173,000 TW of power from the Sun. Our internal heat sources generate roughly 50 TW. That's a tiny fraction of the heat the Sun provides and would be roughly equivalent to Earth being moved about 60 times further away from the Sun than it is now. That would take us out to beyond Pluto and into the range of the dwarf planet Eris. This gives us a rough gauge for Earth's surface temperature of about 50 K.

50K is below the melting point of Oxygen and Nitrogen, so those would be solid on the surface. We'd have no atmosphere we'd recognize as such.

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In the absence of an internal heat source as you specified in a comment (see note below) then the planet, and its atmosphere if it had one, would end up in thermal equilibrium as its environment, which is pretty much 2.7 Kelvin. So the whole system would be at this temperature and there would be no temperature gradients anywhere. In fact there would be no atmosphere, as it would freeze (there would be some tiny amounts of liquid helium at least: I am not sure if there are any other gases which are still liquid at this temperature).

I don't know how long it would take to get close to this state if it started from something approximating today's temperatures: a fairly long time I expect, but not billions of years. During the cooling process there would be temperature gradients.


When I say 'no internal heat source' I am including both the heat from radioactivity and frictional heat from tidal interactions with the Moon. If the Moon was still there then this would cause some heating. Similarly there would be some tiny tidal heating from interactions with the other planets.

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protected by Qmechanic Sep 24 '17 at 13:17

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