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Can A Mountain's Gravity Affect It's Weather?


mike2129
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I have been in a long discussion with a friend about this ever since we climbed Mont Blanc last July.  

 

I have searched far and wide for information on this subject, but have found almost nothing relating specifically to 'can the gravity produced by a large mountain have a significant affect on the weather surrounding it?'.

 

I know the gravitational pull from a large mountain, or mountain range, can be easily measured.  But it is my view that such a small pulling force will have no real affect on something as chaotic as the weather (our debate focused on cloud formation).

Edited by mike2129
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I can't see it myself, the gravity of a mountain is miniscule compared to the Earth as a whole. If the Earth was an egg the highest mountains would only amount to the little dimples on the shell so mountains are pretty tiny compared to the whole planet.

Edited by Bobby
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Posted
  • Location: Cheddington, Buckinghamshire
  • Weather Preferences: Winter: Cold & Snowy, Summer: Just not hot
  • Location: Cheddington, Buckinghamshire

    The mountain itself can have a significant bearing on weather conditions both on it and near it. But the gravitational pull of the mountain is insignificant compared to that of the Earth itself.

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    Posted
  • Location: The Purbeck Microclimate, Dorset.
  • Location: The Purbeck Microclimate, Dorset.

    The other thing to mention is that gravity is weak, and the higher up a mountain you go, it gets weaker, so to answer the question, a mountains gravity should have zero effect on weather. It's size would have an effect, as Nick L says. 

    Edited by Mapantz
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    Posted
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Altitude: 189 m, Density Altitude: 6 m
  • Weather Preferences: Tropical Cyclone, Blizzard, Thunderstorm, Freezing Cold Day and Heat Wave.
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Altitude: 189 m, Density Altitude: 6 m

    And what is the factor which has the most influence in the weather of a mountain? The high altitude and the low pressure?

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddington, Buckinghamshire
  • Weather Preferences: Winter: Cold & Snowy, Summer: Just not hot
  • Location: Cheddington, Buckinghamshire

    And what is the factor which has the most influence in the weather of a mountain? The high altitude and the low pressure?

     

    Well the altitude would cause the temperature to be lower at the top of course.

     

    Air flowing towards the mountain would be forced to rise, and as it does so "expands" and cools (through what is known as adiabatic parcel theory). This can then cause it to condense into clouds and even cause precipitation up the mountain - this is orgraphic rainfall. On the lee side of the mountain, there can be what is known as a rain shadow where it is drier than what would be expected. This is because the air descends down the other side, and descending air generally means drier conditions. This air has also had moisture removed thanks to orographic rainfall. This image demonstrates it well:

    Posted Image

     

    A very simple overview!

    Edited by Nick L
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    Posted
  • Location: Windsor and Arles sur Tech (66) France
  • Weather Preferences: Snow/cold in winter, hot and sunny in summer
  • Location: Windsor and Arles sur Tech (66) France

    Considering that the gravitational pull of a continent can generally cause the ocean to rise up the side of the continent by only a few centimetres at most it wuld be highly unlikely that there would be any 'localised' effects on the weather. This was the exact same question that I asked my phd supervisor so i have enjoyed reading the responses!

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    Posted
  • Location: Napton on the Hill Warwickshire 500ft
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and heatwave
  • Location: Napton on the Hill Warwickshire 500ft

    Considering that the gravitational pull of a continent can generally cause the ocean to rise up the side of the continent by only a few centimetres at most it wuld be highly unlikely that there would be any 'localised' effects on the weather. This was the exact same question that I asked my phd supervisor so i have enjoyed reading the responses!

     

    2013.....Gravity is the most puzzling and least understood of the four fundamental forces of nature.

     

     

    by 2043...Its well know a mountains gravity has a pronounce effect on the weather, I mean we only have weather because we have gravity. Less gravity less weather e.g Mars. 

    Edited by stewfox
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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddington, Buckinghamshire
  • Weather Preferences: Winter: Cold & Snowy, Summer: Just not hot
  • Location: Cheddington, Buckinghamshire

    2013.....Gravity is the most puzzling and least understood of the four fundamental forces of nature.

     

     

    by 2043...Its well know a mountains gravity has a pronounce effect on the weather, I mean we only have weather because we have gravity. Less gravity less weather e.g Mars. 

     

    I think the lack of atmosphere on Mars is the main cause of the lack of weather.

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    2013.....Gravity is the most puzzling and least understood of the four fundamental forces of nature.

     

     

    by 2043...Its well know a mountains gravity has a pronounce effect on the weather, I mean we only have weather because we have gravity. Less gravity less weather e.g Mars. 

     

    Mars lacks a significant atmosphere because of gravity true, but that's because of the entire planet's gravity, not an individual mountain or any mountain.

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddington, Buckinghamshire
  • Weather Preferences: Winter: Cold & Snowy, Summer: Just not hot
  • Location: Cheddington, Buckinghamshire

    It is believed that Mars once had an ample atmosphere which could have supported life. It was the disintegration of the magnetic field which could have caused it to lose it's atmosphere, not the lower gravity.

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    Posted
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.
  • Weather Preferences: Thunder, snow, heat, sunshine...
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.

    It is believed that Mars once had an ample atmosphere which could have supported life. It was the disintegration of the magnetic field which could have caused it to lose it's atmosphere, not the lower gravity.

    Interesting idea is that, Nick...Once tectonic activity stops, the atmosphere would have gradually been lost into space.

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddington, Buckinghamshire
  • Weather Preferences: Winter: Cold & Snowy, Summer: Just not hot
  • Location: Cheddington, Buckinghamshire

    Interesting idea is that, Nick...Once tectonic activity stops, the atmosphere would have gradually been lost into space.

     

    Don't get me wrong, this is not an area I am particularly strong on (although my dissertation is based on space weather!). But I have read and watched numerous things suggesting this. Our magnetic field is pretty much the only thing protecting us from being blasted by all the stuff the sun can throw at us. Without a magnetic field, it is believed we would have no substantial atmosphere.

     

    "It is likely that some of the early Martian atmosphere has been lost to space because Mars, like Venus has no substantial intrinsic magnetic field to protect the atmosphere from solar wind scavenging."

     

    http://www-ssc.igpp.ucla.edu/personnel/russell/papers/mars_mag/

     

     

    Space is both a fascinating and terrifying place!

    Edited by Nick L
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    Posted
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.
  • Weather Preferences: Thunder, snow, heat, sunshine...
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.

    Don't get me wrong, this is not an area I am particularly strong on (although my dissertation is based on space weather!). But I have read and watched numerous things suggesting this. Our magnetic field is pretty much the only thing protecting us from being blasted by all the stuff the sun can throw at us. Without a magnetic field, it is believed we would have no substantial atmosphere.

     

    "It is likely that some of the early Martian atmosphere has been lost to space because Mars, like Venus has no substantial intrinsic magnetic field to protect the atmosphere from solar wind scavenging."

     

    http://www-ssc.igpp.ucla.edu/personnel/russell/papers/mars_mag/

     

     

    Space is both a fascinating and terrifying place!

    Interesting stuff...Once internal convection decreases past a certain threshold, a planet's self-exciting dynamo shuts off, and its magnetic field goes with it...Does anyone know when Earth's magnetic field will likely give up the ghost?

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    Posted
  • Location: The Purbeck Microclimate, Dorset.
  • Location: The Purbeck Microclimate, Dorset.

    2013.....Gravity is the most puzzling and least understood of the four fundamental forces of nature.

     

     

    by 2043...Its well know a mountains gravity has a pronounce effect on the weather, I mean we only have weather because we have gravity. Less gravity less weather e.g Mars.

     

     

    Mars has a gravitational pull  about 37%  that of the Earths, Titan's gravitational pull is about 14% that of the Earths (a touch less than our moon)  yet clouds and methane rain have been observed there. Posted Image

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