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Summer ware on snowy mountain?

  1. Dec 31, 2006 #1
    I once saw a photo of a person standing on top of mountain covered with snow but wearing T-shirt and shorts. How can this be? He said it was because it was warm up there.

    Since it was a sunny day does the snow reflects sunlight very well so the air near the mountain is at a high temperture but the ground is 0 celcius so very cold to touch. A good pair of insulating shoes should prevent heat leaking out of the person to the ground so summer ware is okay?

    But I was seen people wearing a lot on sunny days on top of snow mountains as well. So my answer could be wrong.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 31, 2006 #2

    chroot

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    The air can be very warm, even if there's snow on the ground. Conversely, the air can be very cold, even if the ground is warm. There is no direct correlation between ground and air temperatures, particularly in the mountains, where a significant amount of air-mass mixing occurs.

    - Warren
     
  4. Dec 31, 2006 #3

    Hurkyl

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    Also, people have different tolerances for cold. I, for example, normally wear shorts in 40 degree weather. (And sometimes even in cooler weather!)

    And besides, a big mound of snow can last a very long time in warm weather.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2006
  5. Jan 1, 2007 #4

    Is that because ice like water is an excellent insulator with a big heat capacity so a lot of heat must be absorbed until it melts. So at the time the photograph was taken it was probably early summer and the temperture in the air was high 20s but the snow hasn't absorbed enough heat for it to melt. It also takes some latent heat to melt it as well so that could contribute to most of the delay. Correct?
     
  6. Jan 1, 2007 #5

    russ_watters

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    It doesn't have to be summer though - climate matters. I was at Lake Tahoe last March and the first two days, the high was in the 50s (F) while the third day, the high was 11. Mountains see wide swings in weather and 4-6 hours of warm weather doesn't add much heat to the snow. And at 12,000 feet, on snow, the sun is very warm on your skin. I wore jeans and a t-shirt and was quite comfortable.
     
  7. Jan 2, 2007 #6
    Why do mountains see wide swings in weather?

    Does the mountains have snow on them? If so than I thougt H2O had a high heat capacity so there shouldn't be wild swings in the weather when H2O is present.
     
  8. Jan 2, 2007 #7

    chroot

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    H2O does have a high heat capacity, but has a pretty low thermal conductivity. This is why you can build a shelter out of ice (an igloo), and actually stay warm inside it. It's a rather decent insulator!

    - Warren
     
  9. Jan 2, 2007 #8
    As long as you don't touch it. Although looking at the ice might make one cold?

    It seems logical to think heat capacity is negatively correlated to thermal conductivity because if something increases its temperture by a small amount of heat than its likely to conduct heat well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2007
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