Stratosphere Facts

Stratosphere Facts
The stratosphere is one of five layers of the earth's atmosphere. The other four layers include the troposphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere. The stratosphere the atmosphere's second layer, and is located right above the troposphere and right below the mesosphere. Just like the troposphere, its depth varies with latitude. The stratosphere can be as deep 20 miles or as shallow as 5.5 miles. Unlike the troposphere however it is colder closer to the earth and warmer as it gets closer to the mesosphere. The stratosphere is abundant in ozone, a type of oxygen molecule that absorbs the sun's ultraviolet radiation and uses it to heat this layer in the atmosphere.
Interesting Stratosphere Facts:
The stratosphere is one of five layers of the atmosphere. The atmosphere is one of four spheres of the earth, which include the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the biosphere, and the lithosphere.
The word 'stratosphere' is derived from the word 'strato' meaning layer, and 'sphere' which is earth's shape.
The stratosphere accounts for approximately 24% of the earth's total atmosphere.
The stratosphere contains approximately 19% of the earth's total atmospheric gases.
90% of the ozone layer is found in the stratosphere's upper crust. This ozone layer is important for man's survival, and for the survival of life on earth, as it absorbs the UV radiation from the sun that would otherwise be deadly.
Scientists have been warning people for many years about the damage we are doing to the ozone layer. Planting trees is one of the efforts that people have done to try to minimize damage and to help rebuild the damaged ozone layer.
Damage to the ozone layer of the stratosphere occurs naturally when volcanic gases and dust reach the stratosphere, but people have been contributing to this as well with the use of aerosol's containing CFCs.
The holes in the ozone layer have been recorded above the Antarctica seasonally, as well as in other parts of the world.
Ozone is important for ensuring that just the right amount of ultraviolet radiation reaches the earth. This UV radiation is important for the production of vitamin D in humans, but too much can destroy tissue.
The amount of water vapour in the stratosphere is very low, and because of this there are no clouds in the stratosphere.
Airplanes fly in the stratosphere to avoid turbulence. Planes that are low on fuel also fly at this altitude because they can cover more distance than in the troposphere while using less fuel and encountering less turbulence.
There are forms of biological bacteria living in the stratosphere.
There are some species of birds capable of flying in the stratosphere.
It is possible to send research balloons into the stratosphere. Some researchers and even students have sent helium balloons with cameras to record the stratosphere.
Although on average the stratosphere begins at about 7 miles up from the earth's surface, it can range from 5 miles at the earth's poles, to 6-8 miles at moderate latitudes, to 11 miles at the equator. Its depth also varies from 5.5 to 20 miles depending on latitude as well.


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