ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Layers of Earth's Atmosphere

Updated on December 7, 2017
enl1230 profile image

I enjoy writing! Article Writing, Blog Writing, Content Writing, and Technical Writing.

The Atmosphere of the Earth

The Atmosphere


The Earth is the only planet in the solar system with an atmosphere that can sustain life. The envelope-like gases that surround the earth provides the air that we breathe and protects us from the blasts of heat and radiation emanating from the sun. It warms the planet by day and cools it by the night time.

The Earth's Atmosphere is made up of a very thin layer of gases and these gases are known as air which surrounds the planet Earth and is retained by Earth's gravity. There would be no life on Earth without the atmosphere. The atmosphere protects life by creating pressure allowing water to exist on Earth’s surface and absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the Earth’s surface through heat retention and reducing temperature extremes between day and night.

Atmosphere | Earth's Atmosphere for Life | Know Amazing Facts & Information About Atmosphere

Composition

There are three major constituents of air which are nitrogen, oxygen, and argon.
Energy is transferred between the earth’s surface and the atmosphere via conduction, convection, and radiation.

Conduction, Convection and Radiation

Structure of The Atmosphere

From the highest to the lowest the five main layers are:

1. Exosphere – the outer layer of the Earth’s atmosphere.
700 to 10,000 km (440 to 6,200 miles)
This is the upper limit of our atmosphere. It extends from the top of the thermosphere to 10,000 km (6,200 mi). The exosphere is the region where the molecules from the atmosphere can overcome the pull of gravity and escape into space.

2. Thermosphere – the second highest layer of the Earth’s atmosphere.
80 to 700 km (50 to 440 miles)
The thermosphere starts just above the mesosphere. It extends to 600 km (373 mi) high. The Aurora and satellites occur in this area.

3. Mesosphere – the third highest layer of the Earth’s atmosphere.
50 to 80 km (31 to 50 miles)
The mesosphere starts just above the stratosphere and extends 85 km (53 mi) high. Meteors burn up in this layer.

4. Stratosphere – the second lowest layer of the Earth’s atmosphere.
12 to 50 km (7 to 31 miles)
The stratosphere starts just above the troposphere and extends to 50 km (31 mi) high. The ozone layer, which absorbs and scatters the solar ultraviolet radiation, is in this layer.

5. Troposphere – the lowest layer of the Earth’s atmosphere.
0 to 12 km (0 to 7 miles)
The troposphere starts at earth's surface and extends 8 to 14.5 km (5 to 9 mi). We live in this area. This part of the atmosphere is the most dense. Almost all the weather is in this region. Most clouds appear in this area mainly because 99% of the water vapor in the atmosphere is found here in the troposphere.

Layers of the Atmosphere Photo

Properties of the Atmosphere


There is a thin envelope of air that surrounds our planet and it is a mixture of gases, each with its own physical properties. The mixture is far from evenly divided. Two elements, nitrogen, and oxygen make up 99% of the volume of air. The other 1% is composed of "trace" gases, the most prevalent of which is the inert gaseous element argon. The rest of the trace gases, although present in only minute amounts is very important to life on earth. Two, in particular, carbon dioxide and ozone, can have a large impact on atmospheric processes.

Another gas, water vapor, also exists in small amounts. It varies in concentration from being almost non-existent over desert regions to about 4% over the oceans. Water vapor is important to weather production since it exists in gaseous, liquid, and solid phases and absorbs radiant energy from the earth.


Processes of the Atmosphere

As we learned that water is an essential part of the earth’s system. Three-quarters of the earth’s surface are covered by water. It is important in exchanging the heat and the moisture in the atmosphere.

The cycles are as follows:

1. Most of the water vapor in the atmosphere comes from the oceans.
2. Most of the precipitation falling over the land finds it way back to the oceans.
3. About two-thirds returns to the atmosphere via the water cycle.

The oceans and the atmosphere interact extensively. The oceans act as a moisture source and a heat source for the atmosphere and a sink (storage).

Earth's Energy Budget Photo

Heat and Moisture Effects The Atmosphere

The heat and moistures profound effects on the atmospherics processes near and over the oceans. The ocean currents play a significant role in transferring this heat poleward. The northward flowing Gulf Stream, which is a major current transport tremendous amounts of heat poleward and also contributes to the development of many types of weather phenomena.

The northward Gulf Stream also helps to warm the climate of nearby locations. The cold southward flowing currents, for example, California’s current help to cool the climate of nearby locations.

Almost all of the energy that reaches the earth comes from the sun. It is intercepted firstly by the atmosphere. Then a small part of the energy is absorbed by certain gases such as the ozone and water vapor. Some of the energy is reflected back to space by the clouds and the earth’s surface.

Heat In Clouds Photo

Climate and Weather

Earth is able to support a wide variety of living beings because of its diverse regional climates, which range from extreme cold at the poles to tropical heat at the Equator.
The global climate has cooled and warmed throughout history.

Climate and Weather Photo

© 2017 Elizabeth J Neal

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • enl1230 profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth J Neal 

      7 months ago from Louisiana

      Hello Claire,

      Thank you for leaving such kind words. I appreciate you reading my article. My opinion of the Atmosphere is that it is so complicated! Just makes me think how divine God really is. I hope you have a wonderful day.

      May God Richly Bless You!

    • Claire-louise profile image

      Claire Raymond 

      7 months ago from UK

      Wow! Really in depth, it's so fascinating to think about how complex the atmosphere and the earth really is.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com 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: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    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 googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    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)
    Marketing
    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.
    Statistics
    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)