Atmosphere Facts

Atmosphere Facts
The atmosphere is a layer of gases most commonly referred to as air that is retained by the gravity of earth. The atmosphere surrounds the planet, protecting it by absorbing the ultraviolet radiation from the sun, and regulating the temperature extremes that would otherwise occur between day and night. The atmosphere, or air, is made up of nitrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, water vapor and other small amounts of various gases. Three quarters of the atmosphere is located within 12km of the earth's surface and is referred to as the troposphere. The scientific study of the earth's atmosphere is referred to as aerology.
Interesting Atmosphere Facts:
Scientists that are considered early pioneers of aerology are Richard Assmann and Leon Teisserenc de Bort.
The atmosphere layer closest to the earth is referred to as the troposphere. Beyond the troposphere are the stratosphere, the ozone layer, the mesosphere, and the thermosphere.
The atmosphere is made up of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and smaller amounts of argon, carbon dioxide, helium, and neon.
Contaminants in the atmosphere can include smoke, toxic gasses, dust, ash from volcanoes, and salt.
Roughly 80% of the weight of the atmosphere is located in the troposphere, which is the layer closest to the earth.
The troposphere reaches approximately 12km from the earth's surface and is the thinnest layer.
The stratosphere reaches 50km from the earth's surface.
The mesosphere extends between 50 and 70km from the earth's surface.
The thermosphere contains only 0.001% of the gases in the atmosphere. It contains the ionosphere and exosphere and extends as far as 6,000 miles out into space.
Human activity greatly affects the health of the atmosphere. Human activity such as the greenhouse effect, global warming, contamination of the air, destruction of the ozone belt, and acid rain are damaging the atmosphere.
Because of human contamination of the atmosphere, it is estimated that 20% of the population on earth are continuously breathing heavily contaminated air.
As the ozone layer decreases in the atmosphere the rate of skin cancers continues to climb as the atmosphere is not able to properly absorb the ultraviolet radiation being given off by the sun.
If the atmosphere did not exist life could not be sustained on the planet. Without it the earth would be either too hot or too cold, and life would not be possible. The earth would be similar to the moon.
The weather on earth is created by pressure systems in the atmosphere. These pressure systems move air, which creates wind. Changes in the air temperature and pressure sets the air in motion.
In 2013 a skydiver named Felix Baumgartner went to the highest level of the stratosphere and jumped. He was 120,000 feet above the earth's surface.
The sky is really purple. The atmosphere combined with water particles absorbs the color and scatters it to the eye, making it appear blue rather than purple.
Most of the world's satellites are located in the ionosphere, which is considered the first part of outer space. The International Space Station is also located in the ionosphere.


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