The Earth’s atmosphere is a mixture of gases that surround the planet and protect life on its surface from the harmful effects of the sun’s radiation. It is composed of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% other gases, including trace amounts of carbon dioxide, water vapor, and other pollutants.
The Earth’s atmosphere can be divided into several different layers based on temperature and pressure, including:
- The Troposphere: This is the layer closest to the Earth’s surface and extends to a height of 7-20 km. It is where most of the Earth’s weather occurs and where all of its life forms exist. The temperature decreases with increasing altitude in this layer.
- The Stratosphere: This layer extends from the top of the Troposphere to a height of 50 km. It contains the ozone layer, which protects the Earth’s surface from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. The temperature in this layer increases with altitude.
- The Mesosphere: This layer extends from the top of the Stratosphere to a height of 85 km. It is where meteors burn up upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere. The temperature in this layer decreases with altitude.
- The Thermosphere: This layer extends from the top of the Mesosphere to a height of 600 km. It is where auroras occur and where the Earth’s magnetic field is strongly influenced by the solar wind. The temperature in this layer increases with altitude.
- The Exosphere: This is the outermost layer of the Earth’s atmosphere and extends from the top of the Thermosphere to several thousand kilometers. This is where the Earth’s atmosphere merges with the vacuum of outer space. The temperature in this layer can reach several thousand degrees Celsius.
The Earth’s atmosphere plays a crucial role in regulating the planet’s temperature and protecting it from harmful radiation. It is also important for supporting life on the planet, as it contains the necessary gases for respiration and provides a protective layer against the impacts of meteorites and other space debris. Earth’s atmosphere is a complex system that interacts with various environmental factors and creates different atmospheric phenomena that we can observe and study.