The atmosphere is a gaseous layer which surrounds the Earth.

The atmosphere is called as layers of gases in the surroundings and we call it as Air. We breathe air with oxygen. We can’t survive without oxygen in our life. We also release carbon dioxide is used by trees. Trees are an essential part of our lives which provide us with carbohydrates, sugars and minerals. These trees require carbon dioxide and sunlight to synthesize food which we get from trees.

Atmospheric winds are responsible for the transportation of water from the oceans to the continents in the form of Rain.  These rains cause many rocks to erode and produce different kinds of soil which are required for cultivation of crops of different types. We couldn’t enjoy the fragrance of a beautiful flower or fly a kite which beautiful soars in the sky without the Air which is present in the Atmosphere.

When we compare the size of atmosphere with the Earth, the atmosphere is very thin. If we compare Earth with the size of a basketball, the atmosphere is a thin sheet of plastic wrapped around the ball. The atmosphere is also responsible for greenhouse effect.

The atmosphere is mostly made up of Nitrogen which makes up 78.09%, Oxygen about 20.95%, Argon about 0.93% and carbon dioxide with 0.04% along with other gases.

Layers of Atmosphere
Percentage of Gases in Atmosphere

Our atmosphere is a wonderful place which has several layers based on the density and the temperature. The different layers of atmosphere are

Troposphere which extends from 0 to 12kms   (0 to 7miles)

Stratosphere which extends from 12 to 50kms (7 to 31miles)

Mesosphere which extends from 50kms to 80kms (31 to 50 miles)

Thermosphere which extends from 80 to 700kms (50 to 440miles)

Exosphere which extends from 700 to 10,000kms (440 to 6200miles)

 

Troposphere

The troposphere is first and the lowest layer of the atmosphere. It starts from ground level and extends up to 13kms. All the living things are known to exist in this layer. The changes in weather or weather conditions occur only in this layer. Clouds are formed in the troposphere because 99% of all water vapor is found in the troposphere.

We observe a drop in pressure and temperature in this layer. Condensation, precipitation (rainfall), evaporation, cyclones all these occur in the troposphere. As we move to the top of the troposphere, the temperature drops or we feel cold.

 

Stratosphere

The next layer after troposphere is stratosphere which extends up to 50kms from the edge of the troposphere. All the aircrafts fly in the stratosphere. It does not have any weather conditions like troposphere. The presence of ozone layer is the main feature of the stratosphere. As we move higher and higher in the stratosphere the temperature increases. Weather balloons are sent to the stratosphere for studying about various phenomena.

Mesosphere

The layer on the top of the stratosphere is mesosphere which extends up to 80kms. This is the layer where the meteorites are burned in the atmosphere. The temperature in mesosphere is about -90°C. As we increase the altitude the temperature increases. The mesosphere is a very cool place.

 

Thermosphere

The layer next to mesosphere is the thermosphere. The thermosphere is exposed to high energy traditions of sun such as x-rays and Ultra violet rays. The temperature of the thermosphere depends on the solar activity. Thermosphere sometimes reaches a temperature of 2000°C. Many satellites are present in the thermosphere.

The increase in global temperature from olden days and present is because of solar activities in thermosphere.

Aurora borealis, the northern lights and Aurora australis, the southern lights occur in the thermosphere.

layers of atmosphere
Aurora borealis
Exosphere

The uppermost layer of the Earth is the Exosphere. The air in the exosphere is very thin. It consists of gases like hydrogen and helium which are spread out in all directions. The exosphere is about 10,000kms from the Earth’s surface. Despite the great distance between the layer and the surface of the Earth, it still has the influence of gravity over it.  One of the layers of atmosphere associated with Solar wind storms is exosphere.

 

An Article by S. Surya Bhavani, IX standard

Shree Chaithanya [E.M] School, Andhra Pradesh

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