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It snows in some parts of San Diego County but rains in others


 Image: Caltech Astronomy, Palomar Observatory

A winter storm in San Diego might bring several inches of snow to Palomar Mountain but only rain to nearby Valley Center. Why does it rain in some places but snow in other places? 

It is more likely to snow at higher elevations and rain at lower elevations. Higher elevations are closer to the Sun, so why are higher elevations cooler?


Scientific America: If heat rises, why does the temperature decrease at higher elevations?

UC Santa Barbara: Why is it colder at a higher altitude when technically it is closer to the sun?

NGSS Connections

K-ESS2-1, ESS2.D: Weather and Climate

3-ESS2-1, ESS2.D: Weather and Climate

5-ESS2-1, ESS2.A: Earth Materials and Systems

MS-ESS2-5, ESS2.C: The Roles of Water in Earth's Surface Processes

3-5 ELM
6-8 MS
Earth and Space Science