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Earth Science: Overview

Layers of the Earths Atmosphere

Earth Science: Overview

Composition of Atmosphere
The Atmosphere is the layer of gases that surrounds the planet and makes condition on Earth suitable for living

Nitrogen - 78% ; Oxygen - 21% ; Water Vapor - 0 to 4% ; Carbon Dioxide - .037% ; Other gases make up the rest 99% of atmospheric gases, including water vapor, extend only 30 kilometer above earth's surface. Most of our weather occurs within the first 10 to 15 km.

Earth Science: Overview

Five Layers of Atmosphere
The envelope of gas surrounding the Earth changes from the ground up. Five distinct layers have been identified usingtemperature changes, chemical composition, movement, and density. Each of the layers are bounded by "pauses" where the greatest changes in thermal characteristics, chemical composition, movement, and density occur.

Earth Science: Overview


lowest layer extends up to 10km; contains 99% of the water vapor and 75% of the atmospheric gases. This is the first layer above the surface and contains most clouds and half of the Earth's atmosphere. Weather occurs in this layer. Most of the layers heat is from Earth. Temperature cools about 6.5 degrees Celsius per kilometer of altitude. Varies in thickness and temperature.

Approximately 40km thick Large planes travel through this layer. Because air is thinner at this altitude and so planes encounter less friction there and can therefore fly faster and use less fuel.

Earth Science: Overview

Mesosphere : It is the third layer of the atmosphere

Extends from the top of the stratosphere to about 85 km above Earth. It is

approximately 40km thick. There is a wide variety of temperatures because there arent many air

molecules and so they do not absorb a lot of warmth from the sun.
Temperatures decrease with altitude in the mesosphere

It protects Earth from meteoroids that have manages to break through the

Earth Science: Overview

Thermosphere: Thickest atmospheric layer found between 85 km and 500 km above Earths surface Suns rays are strong in this zone, and create high temperatures that exceed 1000oC. The thermosphere is a layer with auroras. At an altitude of 90 to 300km the IONOSPHERE is found. It is useful from earths communication system because it contains a lot of electrically charged particles. These particles bounce radio waves. Exosphere: The atmosphere merges into space in the extremely thin exosphere. This is the upper limit of our atmosphere.

Outer layer where space shuttle orbits.

Earth Science: Overview

Earths atmosphere is divided into five major layers. The layers are based on temperature. The troposphere is the lowest layer. Temperature decreases with altitude in this layer. All weather takes place here. The stratosphere is the layer above the troposphere. Temperature increases with altitude in this layer. The ozone layer occurs here. The mesosphere is the layer above the stratosphere. Temperature decreases with altitude in this layer. Meteors burn up here. The thermosphere is the layer above the mesosphere. Temperature increases with altitude in this layer. The northern and southern lights occur here. The exosphere is the highest layer. Air molecules are very far apart. They may escape Earths gravity and float into space.

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