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Mesosphere: Composition, Temperature, and Key Characteristics

Explore the coldest and least studied layer of the Earth's atmosphere. Learn about the composition, temperature, altitude, and key characteristics of the mesosphere.


The mesosphere plays an important role in regulating the Earth’s climate, as it is the layer of the atmosphere where ozone is destroyed by hydroxyl radicals.

Mesosphere Definition:

Mesosphere is the layer of the Earth’s atmosphere located above the stratosphere and below the thermosphere. It spans an altitude range of about 50 to 85 kilometers (31 to 53 miles) above the Earth’s surface. Here are some key characteristics and facts about the mesosphere:

Mesosphere Composition:

The mesosphere is composed mainly of gases such as nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. It also contains small amounts of other gases like neon and helium.

Mesosphere Temperature:

The temperature in the mesosphere decreases with altitude. The upper boundary of the mesosphere is called the mesopause, and it is the coldest part of the Earth’s atmosphere with temperatures as low as -90°C (-130°F). However, at lower altitudes, the temperature can reach up to about -60°C (-76°F).

Mesosphere Altitude:

The mesosphere extends from about 50 to 85 kilometers (31 to 53 miles) above the Earth’s surface. It is located above the stratosphere and below the thermosphere.

Mesosphere Key Characteristics:

  1. The mesosphere is the layer of the atmosphere where meteors burn up upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
  2. It is the layer where the Earth’s atmospheric tides occur.
  3. It contains a thin layer of sodium atoms called the sodium layer, which reflects radio waves and is used to study the mesosphere.
  4. It is too high for aircraft to fly and too low for satellites to orbit, making it difficult to study.
  5. The air in the mesosphere is thin, with only about 0.1% of the atmospheric mass located in this layer.

Mesosphere Facts:

  1. The mesosphere is named after the Greek word “mesos,” which means middle, because it is located in the middle of the Earth’s atmosphere.
  2. The mesosphere is the least studied layer of the atmosphere, as it is difficult to reach and study.
  3. The temperature in the mesosphere is affected by solar activity, with the temperature decreasing during periods of high solar activity and increasing during periods of low solar activity.
  4. The mesosphere is home to a variety of atmospheric phenomena, including noctilucent clouds, polar mesospheric clouds, and sprites.
Tony Williams
Tony Williams
Tony Williams is a seasoned journalist with over 10 years of experience covering a wide range of topics, from local news to international events. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for uncovering the truth, Tony has won numerous awards for his investigative reporting. He holds a degree in journalism from the University of California and has worked for several top-tier newspapers. Tony is known for his tenacity and commitment to delivering high-quality journalism to his readers, and he is widely respected in the industry for his integrity and professionalism.