Temperature and Elevation
The Monarchs are Nearly Two Miles High!

Background
The monarchs form their winter colonies at very high elevations. They select sites at or above 10,000 feet. Temperatures can be very cold that high, especially at night.

There are only 12 monarch mountains known. Three of the twelve are shown on the NASA image to the right. Can you find them? Notice how the monarch's mountains rise like islands above the surrounding land.

To understand the importance of elevation, let's check today's temperatures in places near the monarch sanctuaries, but at lower elevations, and see how they compare.

Exploring Temperatures at Different Elevations

1. Click on the map. Find the sanctuaries and other locations.

2. Print a copy of the Temperature and Elevation Student Worksheet.

3. Find today’s high and low temperatures in the following two locations. They are near the sanctuaries. Write them on the worksheet.

Weather Links for Nearest Towns

4. Think about how elevation seemed to affect temperatures in those two places. Next, predict today’s high and low temperatures at the elevation of the sanctuaries and write them on the worksheet. Explain why you predicted the temperatures you did.

5. Figure out the difference between the coldest and warmest temperature for each location. What can you infer about elevation and the temperature variations from night to day?

 Math Challenge On the basis of your worksheet, how many degrees Fahrenheit does temperature seem to fall with every 1,000 feet in elevation? Does this change appear to be different during the day and at night? If so, how would you explain that?

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