Enter the current absolute temperature (K), the reference temperature (mb), and the pressure of the air parcel (mb) into the Potential Temperature Calculator. The calculator will evaluate the Potential Temperature. 

Potential Temperature Formula

The following formula is used to calculate the Potential Temperature. 

PT = T * (Po/P) ^ .286


  • PT is the Potential Temperature (K)
  • T is the current absolute temperature (K) 
  • Po is the reference pressure (mb) 
  • P is the pressure of the air parcel (mb) 

To calculate the potential temperature, raise the ratio of the reference pressure over the air parcel pressure to the .286 power, then multiply the result by the absolute temperature.

How to Calculate Potential Temperature?

The following steps outline how to calculate the Potential Temperature.

  1. First, determine the current absolute temperature (K).
  2. Next, determine the reference temperature (mb). 
  3. Next, determine the pressure of the air parcel (mb). 
  4. Next, gather the formula from above = PT = T * (Po/P) ^ .286.
  5. Finally, calculate the Potential Temperature.
  6. After inserting the variables and calculating the result, check your answer with the calculator above. 

Example Problem:

Use the following variables as an example problem to test your knowledge.

current absolute temperature (K) = 300

reference temperature (mb) = 1000

pressure of the air parcel (mb) = 2000

PT = T * (Po/P) ^ .286 =  ?