A two-year-long data set of air temperature from four different altitudes above Petuniabukta, central Spitsbergen, was analysed in order to assess the near-surface temperature lapse rates and the relative frequency of air temperature inversion occurrence. From August 2013 to July 2015, air temperatures at adjacent altitudes in Petuniabukta were strongly correlated. The near-surface lapse rates in all three layers differed significantly both from the average lapse rate in the international standard atmosphere (0.65°C 100 m-1) and the lapse rate calculated by linear regression. A pronounced annual cycle was detected in the lowermost air layer (from 23 to 136 m a.s.l.) with a variable near-surface lapse rate in the winter months, while an annual cycle was not apparent in the air layers above 136 m a.s.l. The lowermost layer was also characterized by a notable daily cycle in near-surface lapse rate in spring and autumn. Air temperature inversions occurred in up to 80% of the study period in the air layer below 136 m a.s.l., with the relative frequency being much lower in the other two air layers. The air temperature inversions lasted as long as 139 hours. A case study revealed that one of the strongest air temperature inversions was connected to an area of lower pressure gradients at the 850-hPa pressure level.