Water Boils Faster At A High Altitude, At The Summit Of Everest It Boils At Only 69 °C (156.2 °F)

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water boils faster at high altitude

Would you believe that water boils faster at high altitudes, and at the summit of Everest at a significantly lower temperature than it does at sea level? Why is this so? Well there is a really cool scientific explanation as to why this is the case, and when you discover the reason you may just start mountain climbing.

Think back to your school days. I can specifically e=recall one of the very first scientific things that I was taught was the temperature scale in degrees Celsius. We were always taught that water froze at 0°C and it boiled at 100 °C. While this is simplistically true, it left out just a little bit of essential information. That is that water boils and freezes at those temperatures at an atmospheric pressure of one standard atmosphere with mercury. What this basically means is that the boiling and freezing points of water are not actually set in stone. The lower the pressure, the lower the boiling point of water, which means water boils faster at high altitudes because it reaches a lower temperature faster.

So here is how it works. As you ascend into the earths atmosphere the pressure around you drops. This causes the boiling point of water to also drop as the amount of heat to turn water from a liquid to a gas lowers. So this means that when you are on top of Everest water boils at a much lower temperature, due to the lower pressure at its summit. But do you know how fast the boiling rate declines?

It’s not so much about speed as it is about altitude. Speed really has nothing to do with it at all. For every 285 m (935 ft) of elevation the boiling point of water decreases by one degree Celsius. But you won’t be able to test this in an aircraft flying at high altitudes. The reason that this won’t work is because the cabins of aircraft are pressurized. If they weren’t pressurized we would not be able to breathe in the extremely low pressure environment.

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water boils faster at high altitude


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