ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Troposphere

Updated on May 17, 2018
unvrso profile image

An avid camper and hiker as well as writer and astronomy lover, Jose Juan Gutierrez has always been inspired by the sky

The Troposphere

The troposphere is the layer that is situated just above the surface of the earth; it extends for around 7 -20 km (4-12 miles) above sea level. Most of the atmosphere´s mass-70-80%, is in the troposphere and the rest is spread on the upper layers. All weather that occurs in the earth is developed in this layer. The temperature is warmer on the lower layer and the air becomes thinner and colder at higher altitudes.

Nearly all water vapor is in the troposphere and this is why most clouds are formed here. The atmosphere is composed of gases of which the most abundant are nitrogen 78%, oxygen 21%, argon 0.93% and traces of other gases, including carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, methane and ozone.

The height this layer reaches varies with latitude, being greater at the equator with about 20 km (12.4 miles) and 7 km (4 miles) at the poles. It´s height also depends on the season, being lower in winter and greatest during summer. This layer is warmed up from the earth´s surface up. After the sun heats up the earth´s surface and oceans, this heat is radiated up

The Troposphere

The Troposphere
The Troposphere | Source

Troposphere Composition

This layer contains from 75-80% or nearly 3.8625 x 10 to the 18 power kg from the 5.15 x 10 to the power of 18 kg which compose the atmosphere. Most of these contents are greater at the surface and decrease with altitude. In this layer, there is a substancial quantity of oxygen and carbon dioxide: used by living things for respiration and by plants for photosynthesis, respectively.

This layer also contains most of the water vapor, nearly 99% of all water vapor. Saturation vapor pressure decreases with altitude, keeping most water vapor at the surface of the earth, being greater at the tropics and lesser at the poles. This vapor forms part of the water cycle that creates rain and storms and the source are the rivers, lakes and oceans of the planet.

The troposphere contains the gases that permit living organisms to breath. Even though, it contains small amounts of carbon dioxide (0.04 %), it´s a sufficient amount that plants need for photosynthesis

Troposphere Gas Contents

Troposphere Gas Contents
Troposphere Gas Contents | Source

Green House Gases

Water vapor and carbon dioxide are green house gases. Green house gases trap heat from the sun in the surface of the earth by reflecting heat back to earth.

Atmospheric Pressure

Atmospheric pressure is greater at sea level and decreases with altitude. This is because the gases above the surface of the earth create weight it. The atmosphere is said to be in hydrostatic equilibrium, meaning that the weight on any given quantity of air is equal to the pressure above it.

Atmospheric Circulation

This term refers to the heating of world regions by the sun. Sunlight warms the region of the equator more than the regions of the higher latotudes, causing convection air currents that distribute the thermal energy around the world. The Hadley Cell and The Polar Vortex are two convection cells that distribute thermal heat through the world, one creates air that rises at the equator and moves north and south then sinks at middle latitudes and travels at the surface to the equator.

There are two Polar Vortexes in the world, one in the north pole and the other in the south pole. These are low pressure areas that rotate counter.clockwise and clockwise, respectively. These vortexes span for around 1000 km (620 miles) in diameter and strenghten and weaken every year, creating polar fronts.

Earth Global Air Circulation

Earth Global Air Circulation
Earth Global Air Circulation | Source


The temperature in the troposphere deacreases with altitude. The rate at twhich the temperature drops with altitude is called the environmental lapse rate (ELR). In the troposphere the ELR is of decrease in temperature of 6.5° C per every km in increased altitude.

Even though carbon dioxide is contained in small amounts, it has doubled since the 1900s and it´s believed that if the increasing rate continues, it could raise the temperature on the surface of the earth, provoking changing climate around the world, the melting of the polar ice caps and an increase in the levels of the earth´s oceans.

Global Warming

Global Warming
Global Warming | Source

The Water Cycle

This process stars when the heat of the sun evaporates the water in the oceans, rivers, and lakes and everything that contains moisture. Vapor elevates into the sky and forms clouds. When the vapor has gained sufficient height, it condense again into water and falls down to the ground in the from of rain, hail or snow, refilling the bodies of water from which it evaporated.

Although, most of this occurs in the troposphere, some clouds called cumulunimbus clouds can take vapor into heights that reach the stratosphere.


The Tropopause

This is the limit between the troposphere and the stratosphere-the next layer of the atmosphere. The tropopause is an inversion layer or a region where the decrease in temperature as air rises seases. Above this inversion layer in the stratosphere where the temperature remains constant with altitude then it increases. At the tropopause the lapse rate changes from positive to negative.

The Troposphere-lowest layer of the earth´s atmosphere

© 2018 Jose Juan Gutierrez


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)