We are going to discuss the mesosphere. This is an essential layer of the atmosphere that keeps the earth safe from UV rays and other harmful radiation from the universe.
Let’s learn about the characteristics of the mesosphere, temperature, and important facts.
What is the mesosphere?
The mesosphere is the third layer of the atmosphere. This layer is just above the stratosphere and below the thermosphere. The word ‘mesosphere’ is derived from the Greek words ‘Mesos sphaira’ that translates to ‘middle sphere.’ Meso means middle because it is the middle layer of the atmosphere. So its name is the mesosphere.
What is the mesosphere made of? The mesosphere contains a layer of liquid iron and nickel. It also covers with noctilucent clouds” or polar mesospheric clouds. It is a solid layer that covers 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. All other chemical species form the remaining 1%.
Height: It extends from about 50 to 85 km or 31-53 miles above the planet.
Characteristics of the mesosphere: Mesosphere is a cold and middle layer.
- The mesosphere extends from the top of the stratosphere to about 80 kilometers or 50 miles above the earth’s surface.
- It is very much vacuumed as it contains a limited quantity of helium and hydrogen.
- Meteors burn in this layer due to friction with air molecules.
The mesosphere temperature: There are fewer air molecules to absorb incoming electromagnetic radiation from the sun. And the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere also helps to make this layer.
- Temperature range is minus 5 degrees Celsius (-5°C) to minus 93 degrees celsius (-93°C).
- Temperature decreases with altitude.
- It means as we go higher in the mesosphere, the air gets colder, near about minus 93 degrees celsius. Mesopause is the boundary between the mesosphere and the thermosphere. That’s why the mesosphere is the coldest layer of the earth’s atmosphere.
Color: Various colors occur here because the particles and dominant gases in each layer act as prisms, filtering out specific light colors. The mesosphere layer commonly looks like green and blue.
Important facts about the mesosphere: Mesosphere has a lot of fascinating facts. Here are some common facts about it.
- It is less dense than a stratosphere due to the thin layer of gases.
- Aircraft cannot fly high enough to reach the mesosphere. Most aircraft fly in the troposphere, and they also fly in the stratosphere, but they cannot fly in the mesosphere because they cannot reach that much height of the mesosphere.
- The mesosphere protects the earth’s surface from being hit by most meteoroids.
- It experiences atmospheric gravity waves and atmospheric tides.
- It protects the ozone layer from greenhouse gases and keeps another layer safe.
- An unknown type of lightning occurs in the mesosphere layer. It is referred to as ‘sprites’ or ‘elves.’
- This clear is very important for the earth’s protection. The mesosphere burns up most matures and asteroids before they reach the earth’s surface.
The mesosphere is the protective layer of the earth. Modern technology and poisonous gas are affecting this layer day by day. Global warming and ice melting are proof of it. So we should be careful about it.
Venkat Ratnam, M.; Patra, A. K.; Krishna Murthy, “Tropical mesopause: Is it always close to 100 km?”. Journal of Geophysical Research.
“The Mesosphere – overview | UCAR Center for Science Education.”
IUPAC, Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. (the “Gold Book”). Online corrected version: “mesosphere.”
Mesosphere (Wayback Machine Archive), Atmosphere, Climate & Environment Information ProgGFKDamme (UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).