Earth’s Atmosphere The Earth’s atmosphere is a thin layer of air that forms a protective covering around the planet. This layer of gas maintains a balance between the heat absorbed from the sun and the amount released back into space.
Earth’s Atmosphere Earth’s atmosphere is made up of a mixture of gases. 78% Nitrogen 21% Oxygen 4% Water Vapor Other gases include Argon and Carbon Dioxide
Earth’s Atmosphere Earth’s Atmosphere has 5 layers Lower Layers
Troposphere Stratosphere Upper Layers Mesosphere Thermosphere Exosphere
Troposphere This is the lowest layer of the atmosphere.
This is where we are. It contains 99% of the water vapor and 75 of all atmospheric gases.
Troposphere This begins at the surface of Earth and extends up to 10 km. All weather occurs in the troposphere.
Stratosphere This is found directly above the troposphere.
It extends from 10 km to about 50 km above Earth’s surface. Most importantly, the Ozone Layer is found in the Stratosphere.
Ozone Layer Ozone is made up of 3 atoms of oxygen (O3)
It is found at 19 km - 43 km. The ozone layer shields humans from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. UV radiation can cause skin damage and lead to skin cancer.
Ozone Layer There has been damage done to the Ozone Layer.
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) are compounds found in refrigerators, air conditioners, and aerosol sprays that can destroy ozone layers. This can allow more of the sun’s UV rays to reach Earth.
Mesosphere The Mesosphere extends from 50 km to 85 km.
“Meso” means middle. It is the third of five layers. Meteors can be seen when they reach the mesosphere.
Thermosphere This is the largest layer of the atmosphere.
It reaches from 85 km to 500 km. It gets its name from the high temperatures that can be found there.
Ionosphere Through the Mesosphere and Thermosphere is the Ionosphere.
This is a layer of electrically charged particles. This allows radio waves to travel across the country.
Exosphere Beyond 500 km is the Exosphere.
This is where shuttles will be. However, there are so few molecules, the wings do not provide any guidance. Beyond the exosphere is outer space.
aTMOSPHERIC pRESSURE Air Pressure- the measure of the force with which the air molecules push on a surface. Air pressure changes throughout the atmosphere The atmosphere is held by a planet’s gravity
Temperature Altitude- the height of an object above the Earth’s surface. Air temperature also changes as you increase altitude.
tEMPERATURE AND hEAT Temperature- a measure of the average energy of particles in motion. A high temperature means that the particles are moving fast. Heat- transfer of energy between objects at different temperatures.
Energy in the ATMOSPHERE
Radiation- the transfer of energy as electromagnetic waves. (Sunlight) The radiation absorbed by land, water, and atmosphere is changed into thermal (heat) energy Conduction- is the transfer of thermal energy from one material to another by direct contact.
Energy in the Atmosphere
Convection- the transfer of thermal energy by the circulation or movement of a liquid or gas. The continual process of warm air rising and cool air sinking creates a circular movement of air called convection current.
Greenhouse effect 50% of the radiation that enters the Earth’s atmosphere is absorbed by the Earth’s surface. The Earth’s heating process, in which the gases in the atmosphere trap thermal energy, is known as the greenhouse effect. A rise in average global temperature is called global warming.
ATmospheric Pressure and Winds
Wind is moving air Wind is created by differences in air pressure.
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