Definitions for Thermalˈθɜr məl
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word Thermal
rising current of warm air
thermal, thermic, caloric(adj)
relating to or associated with heat
"thermal movements of molecules"; "thermal capacity"; "thermic energy"; "the caloric effect of sunlight"
of or relating to a hot spring
caused by or designed to retain heat
"a thermal burn"; "thermal underwear"
A column of rising air in the lower atmosphere created by uneven heating of Earth's surface.
pertaining to heat or temperature.
providing efficient insulation so as to keep the body warm.
Origin: From *, from θέρμη.
of or pertaining to heat; warm; hot; as, the thermal unit; thermal waters
A thermal column is a column of rising air in the lower altitudes of the Earth's atmosphere. Thermals are created by the uneven heating of the Earth's surface from solar radiation, and are an example of convection, specifically atmospheric convection. The Sun warms the ground, which in turn warms the air directly above it. Dark earth, urban areas and roadways are good sources of thermals. The warmer air near the surface expands, becoming less dense than the surrounding air mass. The mass of lighter air rises, and as it does, it cools due to it expands in the lower pressure of the higher altitude. It stops rising when it has cooled to the same temperature as the surrounding air. Associated with a thermal is a downward flow surrounding the thermal column. The downward moving exterior is caused by colder air being displaced at the top of the thermal. The size and strength of thermals are influenced by the properties of the lower atmosphere. Generally, when the air is cold, bubbles of warm air are formed by the ground heating the air above it and can rise like a hot air balloon. The air is then said to be unstable. If there is a warm layer of air higher up, an inversion can prevent thermals from rising high and the air is said to be stable.
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