What Are The 5 Layers Of The Atmosphere?

What is the 5 layers of the atmosphere

Hello, skygazers and atmospheric adventurers! Are you ready to go on an exhilarating journey beyond the reach of the tallest mountains and into the vast expanse above? We’re setting our sights skyward to explore the majestic layers of the atmosphere that envelop our planet in a protective embrace. From the air we breathe to the edge of space, each layer plays a crucial role in sustaining life and captivating our imagination.

Our rocky planet Earth is wrapped in a gaseous blanket known as the atmosphere. It’s the only planet in the solar system with an atmosphere that can sustain life. The atmosphere also protects us from the sun’s radiation and heat. By day, the atmosphere stops getting too hot, and by night, it wraps up in a blanket to stop us from getting too cold. It also provides all-weather oxygen to breathe, water vapor, and temperature control.

The atmosphere is about a hundred kilometers thick and broken into five layers. It starts with the troposphere closest to the earth, extending to 14.5 kilometers. It is the densest part and is where the clouds are found. Nearly all of the weather happens here. Then, the stratosphere absorbs and scatters harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.

The atmosphere causes the blue sky, white moon, blue ocean, white clouds, and rainbow. The Sun hits the molecules in the atmosphere, which causes the light to scatter in all directions, giving different colors.

Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for lift-off as we ascend through the five layers of the atmosphere, uncovering the secrets and wonders held within each. Ready to soar through the skies of knowledge and discover what lies beyond the blue? Let’s take flight!

What is the Atmosphere of the Earth?

The Earth’s atmosphere is a collection of gases surrounding the entire planet. Atmospheric science is about the science of the atmosphere. It’s about the dynamics of the earth’s atmosphere system.

The atmosphere is an envelope of air made up of various gases surrounding the earth and rests on its surface. It has mass weight and an indefinite shape. The atmosphere comprises 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% other gases such as argon or helium. Some of these elements are heavier than others.

The heavier elements, like oxygen, settle on the earth’s surface. While the lighter elements rise to higher altitudes, most of the atmosphere’s oxygen is contained in the area below 35,000 feet. However, there are various kinds of pressure as pilots are concerned with atmospheric pressure.

The atmosphere’s thickness is limited; therefore, the higher the altitude, the less air there is above it. For this reason, the weight of the atmosphere at 18,000 feet is approximately one-half.

Atmospheric pressure varies with time and location. Due to the changing atmospheric pressure, a standard reference point was developed. The standard atmosphere at sea level has a temperature of 15 degrees Celsius and a surface pressure of 29.92 inches of mercury or 1013 point 2 millibars.

The standard temperature lapse rate is when temperature decreases at approximately 2 degrees Celsius per thousand feet up to an altitude of 36,000 feet at 36,000 feet.

The temperature is approximately negative 65 degrees Fahrenheit or minus 55 degrees Celsius above. The temperature is considered constant at this point, up to 80,000 feet. A standard pressure lapse rate is when pressure decreases at a rate of approximately one inch of mercury per 1000 feet of altitude to 10,000 feet. The International Civil Aviation Organization, or ICAO, has established these pressure and temperature lapse rates worldwide.

What are the 5 layers of the atmosphere?

The atmosphere is the layer of gases that surround the earth. It includes the air that we all breathe. The atmosphere is invisible, but a lot is going on up there. It has different layers, starting on the ground and stretching into space.

5 layers of the atmosphere
5 layers of the atmosphere
  • Troposphere.
  • Stratosphere.
  • Mesosphere.
  • Thermosphere.
  • Exosphere.

1. Troposphere

The troposphere is the layer closer to the surface of the earth. It is the first layer of the atmosphere. Also, it’s the one where humans and animals live in. It extends from the Earth’s surface to about twelve and a half miles in the sky. It measures approximately 10 kilometers high. Clouds are found in the troposphere, and weather phenomena like wind, rain, or snow occur here.

The temperature is typically descending with height. Once it reaches the tropopause, an inversion occurs. A radius sound measures the temperature and other elements of the vertical atmosphere. A radius sound is a small box that contains weather instruments. The tropopause is the boundary that separates the troposphere from the stratosphere.

Temperature: The temperature at sea level and the bottom of the troposphere is 15° C (59° F). Higher up, the temperature drops about 6.5° C with each increase in altitude of 1 kilometer (about 3.6° F per 1,000 feet). At the top of the troposphere, the temperature is -57° C (-70° F).

Pressure: The pressure ranges of this layer are 1000 to 200 millibars (29.92 in. ~ 5.92 in.).

Area: It extends about 12 kilometers or 7.5 miles high from the ground.

Structure: 75% of the mass of the atmosphere. Approximately 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% argon with small amounts of additional gases, including water vapor and carbon dioxide.

Weather is formed in this layer. Water evaporates from land to become snow or rain. The vapor contributes to the greenhouse effect. It traps the sun’s heat close to our planet. As a result, warm or cool weather comes. Hot air balloons fly in this layer.

2. Stratosphere

The layer above the troposphere is called the stratosphere. It spans from the tropopause to about 31 miles up, containing about 20% of the Earth’s gas. At the very bottom of this layer are powerful winds that blow eastward. It is called the jet stream. Large planes flying west to east often hop into the jet stream. That extra push of wind from behind allows them to fly faster. Also in the stratosphere is the ozone layer.

Ozone is a special kind of oxygen that absorbs most of the sun’s harmful radiation, like ultraviolet rays, which cause sunburn. Without protecting the ozone layer, few living things could survive on Earth. Air is less dense at 15 miles. So, the absorption of intense solar energy at 30 miles increases the temperature.

The stratopause is the boundary that separates the stratosphere from the mesosphere. This boundary is typically found around 30 miles above the earth’s surface. It also marks the spot where the inversion stops, and temperatures decrease with height again.

Scientists have discovered a hole in the ozone layer over the South Pole. They’re concerned that certain chemicals, such as chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs from aerosol sprays and refrigerators, may have caused this bummer. If the hole gets any larger, more radiation will reach the Earth. There could be potential problems in the future.

Temperature: The temperatures increase with altitude. The top of this layer has about 270 K (−3°C or 26.6°F).

Pressure: 1 millibar or 0.75 mm of mercury at 0 °C, or 0.03-inch mercury at 32 °F.

Area: It extends from the tropopause to about 50 kilometers (32 miles) above the Earth’s surface.

Structure: It contains a thin layer of ozone molecules that form a protective layer and absorb harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. Also, it contains 24% of the atmospheric mass. Airplanes from jet aircraft fly in the stratosphere layer.

3. Mesosphere

The mesosphere protects Earth from large rock-like objects from space called meteoroids. When meteoroids enter, the friction between the meteoroid and the mesosphere causes most meteoroids to burn up hot stuff. Occasionally, large meteors enter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up simultaneously. The air at this level is very spin.

About 99.9% of the atmosphere’s molecules are below this level. Only one-thousandth of all the atmosphere molecules are above this level. There are several reasons why we can’t live in the mesosphere. The percentage of nitrogen and oxygen is about the same at the surface. The low air density would make it very hard to breathe. Pilots flying nearly 10,000 feet for too long without the proper equipment can experience hypoxia.

There is little ozone in this layer. So, there is less absorption of solar radiation in this layer. It is why temperatures decrease with height up to nearly 85 kilometers. At this height, temperatures are coldest at negative 90 degrees Celsius or negative 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperature: It is the coldest layer in Earth’s atmosphere. The temperature of this layer is -90° C or -130° F.

Pressure: It has 0.01 millibars or 1 Pa pressure level.

Area: It extends from about 50 to 85 km (31 ~ 53 miles) above the earth.

Structure: 0.1% of the air mass, dry air, water, polar mesospheric clouds.

4. Thermosphere

It is the layer above the mesosphere. The thickest layer in the atmosphere is called the thermosphere. The thermosphere extends to an altitude of 85 to 500 kilometers above sea level. This layer is the warmest of all five layers. Air temperature on the surface of the earth is kept constant. In this layer, temperatures can rise to more than 2,000 degrees Celsius. The International Space Station orbits the Earth within the thermosphere.

The sun’s ultraviolet radiation turns to heat and causes the air to be very hot, up to 1500 degrees Celsius or more. Scientists break the thermosphere down into two more layers. The lower part of the thermosphere is the ionosphere.

The particles become electrically charged or ionized when the sun’s radiation reaches this layer. These electrically charged particles can cause the sky to glow. It is called an Aurora; these glowing particles are called the Northern Lights in the Northern Hemisphere.

Temperature: The thermosphere is 200° C (360° F) hotter in the daytime. Active Sun time is 500° C (900° F) hotter. At the upper thermosphere, the temperature range is about 500° C (932° F) to 2,000° C (3,632° F) or higher.

Pressure: The pressure level is 0.005 MB (0.0005 kPa).

Area: It extends from the mesopause to 700 kilometers (435 miles) above the Earth’s surface.

Structure: It has the lightest gases, mainly oxygen, helium, and hydrogen. The aurora and satellites mainly occur in this layer.

5. Exosphere

The exosphere is a skinny layer. The upper part of the thermosphere is called the exosphere. It is the last layer of the atmosphere. It starts about 550 kilometers or 342 miles above the surface. EXO means outer Inlet.

The outer atmosphere is so thin that one molecule of air can travel great distances without another molecule. It is the outermost limit with space and protects the Earth from solar flares. There’s nothing but hydrogen and helium. Satellites orbit the Earth within the exosphere.

In this layer, oxygen molecules absorb energetic solar rays. It warms the air because there are relatively few atmospheric atoms and molecules. The absorption of a small amount of energetic solar energy can cause a vast increase in air temperature. The air density in this layer is so low.

Temperature: The temperature range is 0 to over 1700 degrees Celsius. This layer is colder at night and much hotter during the daytime.

Pressure: The pressure is about 0.0007 atmospheres, which is negligible.

Area: It extends from the top of the thermosphere to 10,000 kilometers (6,214 miles) above Earth’s surface.

Structure: It has a very thin air layer. This layer is made up of helium and hydrogen.

The five layers of the atmosphere are very important to protect the earth and create biodiversity. The layers have specific characters and working processes that help build a good atmosphere. So, we should protect all of these layers to protect lives.

From the weather-filled troposphere to the mysterious expanse of the exosphere, we’ve journeyed through the distinct strata that shield our planet and support life in myriad ways. It’s been an incredible voyage, uncovering the unique characteristics and vital functions of each atmospheric layer.

We hope this journey has not only expanded your horizons but also deepened your appreciation for the complex and beautiful system that surrounds our planet. Thank you for joining us on this high-flying adventure. Until our next exploratory mission, keep looking up and wondering about the marvels above and beyond. Stay curious, stay inspired, and never stop exploring the boundless skies!

More Articles:

What Is The Troposphere Layer

How Did The Atmosphere Form?

What Is The Mesosphere Layer

Temperature Of The Thermosphere Layer

What Happens In The Stratosphere Layer


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Seki, K.; Elphic, R. C.; Hirahara, M.; Terasawa. “On Atmospheric Loss of Oxygen Ions from Earth Through Magnetospheric Processes.”
Gunell, H.; Maggiolo, R.; Nilsson. “Why an intrinsic magnetic field does not protect a planet against atmospheric escape.” Astronomy and Astrophysics.
“Scientists Detected An Incoming Asteroid The Size Of A Car Last Week – Why That Matters To Us.”
Williams, Matt. “What Is The Atmosphere Like On Other Planets?”. Universe Today.

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