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Orianna2000
11-11-2012, 02:10 AM
And no, I don't mean volcanoes. ;)

My MC goes to visit a city that's nestled at the foot of some mountains. Lots of hills to walk up and down. It's also further south from where she lives, so it's much hotter than she's used to. I use both details to add depth to the scenes.

Then it occurred to me that, usually, mountain towns are cooler in temperature. At least, all the mountain towns that I've been to. When I lived in the Smoky Mountains, we didn't even need AC in the summer. But, then again, the Smoky Mountains aren't as far south as we're talking for my novel. (It's another planet, but similar to Earth.) So my question is, can you have a foothills/mountain town that's boiling hot in the summer? Or is that too contradictory?

This may seem a dumb question, but I tried researching this and all I found was the fact that higher altitudes are cooler than lower altitudes. That doesn't tell me whether it can reach the upper 90s or low 100s in the mountains, if you're near the equator.

Anybody able to help?

SianaBlackwood
11-11-2012, 02:44 AM
Look for a real-life place at similar latitude and with similar geography. Would somewhere in southern Asia be a good fit climate-wise?

Drachen Jager
11-11-2012, 03:26 AM
Mountainous regions are generally cooler than lowlands of similar geography, but there are places on Earth where there are hot mountains. It generally means extremely dry/desert weather, and normally the nights are quite cold.

Siri Kirpal
11-11-2012, 03:39 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I've camped on a mountain plateau in New Mexico: very hot days with occasional thunderstorms and dust blowing nearly all the time, very cold nights.

If you place your mountains in a wet tropical region, it could still seem hot to your MC, provided he/she is from a region much further north. (Or south, if you're on the other side of the equator.)

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

LindaJeanne
11-11-2012, 04:43 AM
You might want to look for information on the northern end of the Andes range in South America (and possibly on the Inca civilization that controlled that area for so long).

Orianna2000
11-11-2012, 04:45 AM
I would rather have tropic mountains than dry, desert mountains. Asia might be a similar climate, but I don't know much about that region. As long as it's okay to say the city is surrounded by mountains, yet is hot in the summer because it's closer to the equator, then it'll be fine. I can add in a few details to make it more tropical, if that's key.

King Neptune
11-11-2012, 04:51 AM
I would rather have tropic mountains than dry, desert mountains. Asia might be a similar climate, but I don't know much about that region. As long as it's okay to say the city is surrounded by mountains, yet is hot in the summer because it's closer to the equator, then it'll be fine. I can add in a few details to make it more tropical, if that's key.

That works. Vietnam is hot and humid everywhere, including the mountains.

Nekko
11-11-2012, 05:03 AM
And no, I don't mean volcanoes. ;)
So my question is, can you have a foothills/mountain town that's boiling hot in the summer? Or is that too contradictory? That doesn't tell me whether it can reach the upper 90s or low 100s in the mountains, if you're near the equator.

Anybody able to help?

Not at all a dumb question. I live in California at the northern end of the Sacramento valley. Our house is at 2,300 feet. While it is 5-10 degrees cooler than the valley, it definitely gets HOT in the summer. So when it is 115 in Redding, it is merely 105 here.

It is a 'dry' heat, but 100 is hot no matter what.

Bear in mind, I am at the end of the valley, so heat rises up to us, losing some temp along the way. If we were further in the range, I suspect more of the heat would be lost before getting to us.

blacbird
11-11-2012, 07:42 AM
The Andes are the obvious analogue, and they have glaciers, even at the equator. Mt. Kilimanjaro, near the equator in Africa, is famed for its glacial cap, although that is fast vanishing. Similarly the highest mountain in Indonesia (Carstens, I believe, is the name), likewise with glaciation fast disappearing.

What you need to understand here is that the sun doesn't provide direct heat. What it does is provide light, which interacts with absorptive materials, excites their atoms, which then produce infrared (heat) radiation sent back into the atmosphere. This effect is far more pronounced at low altitudes where there is a lot of absorptive material exposed, than at high altitudes, where the surface angles of the earth are more acute, and where there is snow and ice, all the time.

Think of your car. On a hot day, you can easily burn yourself touching the metallic surface, especially if it's dark, but the glass will only feel warm. That's because the opaque surface absorbs the light energy, and sends back infrared radiation, while the transparent material (glass) lets the rays go into the car to excite the atoms on your car seat and dashboard and steering wheel, which then produce infrared which does not escape the car much, making your interior unlivable. That's the fabled "greenhouse" effect, which is exactly why a greenhouse is warm.

caw

Orianna2000
11-11-2012, 06:17 PM
Okay, thanks. I've tweaked the scene to make the location more tropical, with flowers and birds, and people dressing a little differently than my MC is used to. I'll probably add more detail in the second draft, as well.