atmospheric temperature profile
(temperature profile, vertical temperature profile)
(the atmosphere's temperature by altitude)
An atmospheric temperature profile
(aka vertical temperature profile or just temperature profile)
of a world is a function of the temperature of its
atmosphere by altitude. A planet's or moon's
general temperature profile is of interest in the study of the world.
Terminology devised for Earth's atmosphere and its profile is often
adapted for other worlds:
- troposphere - lowest layer, in which the temperature falls with altitude.
- tropopause - level at the top of the troposphere, where temperature is constant according to altitude.
- stratosphere - next higher layer, in which the temperature rises with altitude.
- stratopause - level at the top of the stratosphere, where temperature is constant according to altitude.
- mesosphere - next higher layer, in which the temperature again falls with altitude.
- mesopause - level at the top of the mesosphere, where the temperature is constant according to altitude.
- thermosphere - next higher layer, in which the temperature again rises with altitude.
The term temperature inversion is used for
temperature rising with altitude,
and is generally used to describe such phenomena when it occurs
within some weather conditions, within the Earth's troposphere.
In describing whole atmospheres, temperature inversion is sometimes used
to point out the existence of a more permanent layer,
like the Earth's stratosphere.
In extra-solar planets,
one possible cause of such a permanent temperature inversion
is an upper atmosphere transparent to most of the planet's
black-body radiation but opaque to much of the star's.