temperature inversion

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temperature inversion An atmospheric condition in which the typical lapse rate is reversed and temperature increases vertically through a given layer. In the troposphere an inversion layer marks conditions of great stability, i.e. a region in which vertical motion is strongly damped, with an absence of turbulence. An inversion acts as a ceiling, preventing further upward convection, and is generally the limit for cloud development. Marked and persistent inversions occur at lower levels, with subsiding air in major anticyclonic cells, such as the Azores high-pressure zone and cold anti-cyclones over continents. See also ATMOSPHERIC STRUCTURE; and ENVIRONMENTAL LAPSE RATE.

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temperature inversion An atmospheric condition in which the typical lapse rate is reversed and temperature increases vertically through a given layer. In the troposphere an inversion layer marks conditions of great stability (i.e. a region in which vertical motion is strongly damped, with an absence of turbulence). An inversion acts as a ceiling, preventing further upward convection, and is generally the limit for cloud development. Marked and persistent inversions occur at lower levels, with subsiding air in major anticyclonic cells (e.g. the Azores high-pressure zone and cold anticyclones over continents).

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temperature inversion An abnormal increase in air temperature that occurs in the troposphere, the lowest level of the earth's atmosphere. This can lead to pollutants becoming trapped in the troposphere (see air pollution).

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