DIFFERENT TERMS FOR
A CHANGE IN TEMPERATURE WITH HEIGHT
 
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
Here are the terms you will run across and the definitions:
Inversion An increase of temperature with height
Stable lapse rate A temperature increase with height that is less than 5 degrees C per kilometer
Dry adiabatic lapse rate The rate of temperature change of a dry parcel of air (near 10 C per kilometers in
low levels of atmosphere)
Moist adiabatic lapse rate The rate of temperature change of a saturated parcel of air
(varies with rate of latent heat release). Also known as wet and pseudoadiabatic lapse rate.
Superadiabatic lapse rate A temperature change with height that is greater than 10 C per kilometer. Occurs in
situations with intense surface heating or over a warm body of water as a cold air mass advects over it
(Great Lakes in late Fall)
Isothermal layer Temperature remains constant with increasing height
Conditionally unstable lapse rate Temperature decrease with height between the wet and
dry adiabatic lapse rate
Parcel lapse rate Rate of cooling of a parcel of air as it ascends, first at the dry adiabatic lapse
rate to the
LCL then at the wet adiabatic lapse rate afterwards
L57 The rate of temperature change in C per kilometer between the 700 and 500 millibar levels. Used to assess
the cooling rate in the middle levels of the troposphere.


