Effects of Inversions


Looming images from the Weather Doctor web site: http://www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/doctor.htm
Note: images are greatly exaggerated from actual phenomenon.

One of the most harmful effects of inversions is that they trap the pollution close to the ground, trapping the smog.



This Picture and the background picture of Los Angeles smog are from the Oceanworld web site http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/oceanography-book/atmosphere.html



In places like Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, this is a real problem because of all the emissions from vehicles, power plants, and other factories or heat sources


Besides trapping smog, inversions also trap sound waves. Because of this, the loud sounds of things like airplanes taking off will seem louder as the sound waves refract off the inversion layer and back down to the ground

  But sound waves aren't the only thing that gets refracted by weather inversions. light can be bent by the inconsistency of the temperature. When an inversion is not present, but the ground temperature is significantly hotter than the air higher up like in the desert, the bending of light causes mirages in the form of thinking that there is a lake or puddle up ahead. Really, it is the sky reflecting off of the ground because of the extreme change in temperature
  When there is a temperature inversion, the affect is just the opposite. If the inversion is strong enough, it can cause far off objects to look like they are floating above the ground. If things are far enough they are past the curvature of the earth, they may become visible. This reverse or "superior" mirage is called looming.