We're interested in purchasing a vacation lake house in the piedmont/foothills of North Carolina. In earlier summers there, when driving from the mountains home to lower (sub-1000ft) elevations, I've noticed that one has a very distinct sense of descending into a noticeably "yucky" layer of elevated heat, humidity, and haze. (It's actually visible from the right vantage, much as it sometimes is when landing in an airplane).

I think it'd be very desirable for this vacation home to be above this layer. But I don't know how to figure out what the typical elevation of the top of the layer is. I'm not even sure how to define the layer.

So I seek advice on how to quantify what I mean by this "yucky" lower layer of the summer atmosphere, as well as how to determine what its elevation is.

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    $\begingroup$ Keywords: inversion, boundary layer. Look up some Skew-T log-P diagrams from nearby weather stations. I don't know if anyone collects seasonal statistics on those, but lots of stuff from NOAA is publicly archived so probably you can browse such diagrams to get an idea. $\endgroup$ – gerrit Nov 11 '20 at 9:26
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    $\begingroup$ Think it may well depend quite a bit on winds, topography, and vegetation. In particular, a gradual slope onto a wide area of high elevation would likely still be in the wider dirty mixed layer, while a sudden steep jut would probably be separated from it if high enough. So thinking you may be looking for larger\somewhat steeper hills that stand out more? $\endgroup$ – JeopardyTempest Nov 14 '20 at 7:46

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