What happens when warm air rises?


Quick Answer

Warm air constantly changes elevations in the atmosphere, which leads to harsh weather conditions such as thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes and windy conditions. Poor weather conditions are the direct result of air rising after it is heated up by warm ocean currents.

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Full Answer

When air is heated, the molecules within it grow further apart, causing the air to become less dense and lighter than the cooler air around it. When this occurs, the warmed air rises through the atmosphere. As it rises, it becomes cooler and denser, causing it to fall nearer to the ground.

Temperatures are warmer closer to the ground surface than they are at higher elevations. This is due to the fact that warm air does not hover at great elevations. Instead, it quickly cools down and begins its descent back toward the ground. This is why it can be much colder on top of a mountain than in a valley below the mountain.

As ocean currents change, so does the weather. Because warm water currents are responsible for warm wind currents, ocean currents directly impact and create weather. This is why scientists believe global warming is heating up the oceans and might be responsible for weather-related disasters.

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