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space cadet
2005-Jan-29, 05:13 AM
It's a "phenomenon" that occurs in small valleys surrounded by large mountains when cold air gets trapped under a layer of warmer air. As a result, the air in the valley has very poor circulation. As smoke and vehicle emissions build up, the air gets dirtier and dirtier.

I have never seen an inversion this bad before; we haven't had a good wind here for nearly two weeks. Imagine, two weeks worth of pollutants floating around in the air. All this brown haze can't be healthy. And to make matters worse, I haven't seen any stars or even blue sky for a loooooooooong time.

I feel like I'm trapped in a dirty bubble. *goes crazy*

W.F. Tomba
2005-Jan-29, 05:35 AM
Why is it called inversion?

01101001
2005-Jan-29, 05:47 AM
Why is it called inversion?

Just ask Google (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&rls=GGLD%2CGGLD%3A2003-48%2CGGLD%3Aen&q=%281%2F0%29+celsius+in+fahrenheit &btnG=Search):
Query: (1/0) celsius in fahrenheit

Result: (1 / 0) Celsius = 32 degrees Fahrenheit

Who woulda thought? Anyway...

A temperature inversion is when the normal situation, air warmer near the ground and cooler as you go up, is inverted, with a warm lump of air above a colder one on the ground.

Maksutov
2005-Jan-29, 05:48 AM
Why is it called inversion?
Usually the air temperature gets colder the higher up you go. But in this case it's getting warmer the higher you go. The usual pattern is inverted, hence the term inversion.

For a discussion of inversions and beer, go here. (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=391641#391641)

Argos
2005-Jan-29, 12:00 PM
Thermal inversion is a pretty common phenomenon around here, in winter. And you donīt need a valley. Cities become veritable gas chambers, with nasty results for those who suffer from asthma and other respiratoy diseases. Itīs pain.

cyswxman
2005-Jan-30, 07:10 AM
Yes, inversions are fairly common, especially in winter. When the arctic airmasses come down, they are typically quite shallow in depth (on the order of a few thousand feet). As a result, if you were to rise up through the airmass, it would initially get colder, but at the top of the arctic airmass, the temperature would abruptly rise. Valleys, especially like those in which Salt Lake and Denver lie in, are particularly susceptible to cold air trapping in which a cold airmass flows in, then simply gets left behind to stagnate until the right wind pattern sets up to scour it out.