Layers of atmosphere

In this blog post, we will learn about the definition and layers of the atmosphere. The layers of the atmosphere are defined on the base of temperature and various other factors. We will also learn about some interesting facts related to this article.

What is the atmosphere and different layers of the atmosphere?

Definition: The earth is surrounded by a layer of gas called the atmosphere. It extends up to a height of 1600 km. The atmosphere consists of mainly nitrogen and oxygen which alone make up about 99% of the clean dry air.

Nitrogen 78%, oxygen 28% and other gaseous like carbon dioxide, argon and other comprise 1% by volume. The atmosphere is divided into five layers based on composition, temperature, and other properties. Which are as follows:-

5 different layers of the atmosphere

  • Troposphere – This is the lowest layer where we do live in. It consists of clouds, rain, snow, and weather. As the distance from earth increases in this layer temperature gets colder by 6.5-degree Celsius per kilometer. The decrease in temperature happens due to a decrease in air pressure. As air moves upwards pressure decrease and the air gets expands due to this low-pressure air gets cool. The top of the troposphere is called the tropopause. It ranges from 0-13 km from the earth’s surface.
  • Stratosphere – It ranges from 13-30 km from tropopause. This layer mainly consists of ozone which prevents us from harmful Ultraviolet rays of the sun by absorbing them. The absorption of UV rays results in an increase in the temperature of this layer.
  • By absorbing harmful Uv rays stratosphere protects us from skin cancer and other health damages. The uses of CFCs, freons, and halon in refrigerators and fire extinguishers have reduced the amount of ozone in the atmosphere. At polar latitudes uses of the aforesaid CFCs and halon gaseous had caused a hole known as the Antarctic ozone hole. But we had now minimized its uses to recover this setback.
  • Mesosphere – It ranges from 30-50 km. In this layer again temperature decreases up to -90 degrees celsius.
  • Thermosphere or Ionosphere – It lies above the mesosphere and ranges from 50-400 km. The temperature in this layer again increases with the increase in height due to the absorption of ultraviolet and X-ray radiation from the sun. This layer is also known as the ionosphere due to the presence of ions with a positive charge.
  • The ionosphere absorbs and reflects radio waves allowing us to receive shortwave radio broadcasts.
  • Exosphere – The region above 400 km is known as the exosphere. It consists of mainly oxygen and hydrogen atoms.

Why do climbers experience difficulty in breathing at high altitudes?

The density of the atmosphere varies with height. It is maximum at the sea level and decreases rapidly as we go up. The climbers experience problems in breathing due to a decrease in the density of air. The temperature also decreases as we go upwards.

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