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Measuring the vertical temperature gradient within the atmospheric boundary layer.
Consider a gas with a vertical temperature gradient.
They prefer places with vertical temperature gradients, like chimneys, attics and shutters."
Under certain conditions, the normal vertical temperature gradient is inverted such that the air is colder near the surface of the Earth.
Among the critical factors controlling snowpack evolution are: heating by the sun, radiational cooling, vertical temperature gradients in standing snow, snowfall amounts, and snow types.
There is a tradeoff inherent in these two issues: by increasing the flow rate (and the ability to remove greater thermal loads), the vertical temperature gradient can be reduced, but this could increase the risk of drafts.
In Arctic and Antarctic seas where there is a reduced vertical temperature gradient, there is also a reduced trend towards increased body size with depth, arguing against hydrostatic pressure being an important factor.
In many lakes, especially in the zones of continental climate, summer heating and winter cooling create strong vertical temperature gradients which oppose water intermixing, resulting in the periods of summer and winter thermal lake stratification.
If the vertical temperature gradient is +12.9 C per 100 meters (where the positive sign means temperature gets hotter as one goes higher), then horizontal light rays will just follow the curvature of the Earth, and the horizon will appear flat.
This is because of significant differences encountered between measurements made at different depths, especially during the daytime when low wind speed and high sunshine conditions may lead to the formation of a warm layer at the ocean's surface and strong vertical temperature gradients (a diurnal thermocline).
Instead of using the vertical temperature gradient as the defining variable, the dynamic tropopause surface is expressed in potential vorticity units (PVU), with the tropopause layer typically lying within the 1.5-2 PVU surface in the Northern Hemisphere, although no universal values exist.