Is it possible to come up with a formula to estimate the height of the tropopause and the upper layer lapse rate only based on atmospheric composition and other atmospheric parameters (not relying on atmospheric sounding data)?

  • $\begingroup$ Note that even Earth's varies quite a bit, as Wikipedia says, varying from 9 km average at the Poles to 17 km average at the Equator, basically due to temperature -> density differences. $\endgroup$ Mar 2, 2023 at 5:42
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    $\begingroup$ A good read on this topic is doi.org/10.1017/9781107588417 chapter 15.5. In short: You can get estimates if you have some understanding of the planets atmosphere. $\endgroup$ Mar 2, 2023 at 12:42

1 Answer 1


The existence, and accordingly the height, of a tropopause depends on whether the other planets' atmosphere has a layer of ozone or any other gas that absorbs some part of incoming solar radiation leading to a substantial heating and, hence, a significant temperature inversion.

Given an atmospheric composition, to attain some numerical values for the tropopause height and the lapse rate probably requires modelling of radiative transfer, which is a notoriously difficult task.


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