Updated: Oct 9, 2020


Mandar Pitale

The Atmosphere is a word which is derived from the ancient Greek language in which ‘atmos’ refers ‘to vapors’ and ‘sphere’ is a ‘3D geometry, like a ball’. The atmosphere is a gaseous covering on the periphery of every planet whether with the presence of life or not but with different compositions of gases. It generally consists of a set of layers of gases that are at the periphery of the planet surface due to the gravitational pull of the planet. Every planet present in the universe is equipped with its own composition of gases and a unique atmosphere.

To date, Earth and Kepler-425b are known to be equipped with an atmosphere supporting life but research is still in progress for Kepler-425b.

Earth’s atmosphere is equipped with different gases which also differ in temperature, pressure and have a composition of nitrogen (78%), oxygen (21%), and remaining as water vapor and other gases. It has been observed that the air pressure and temperature decrease with an increase in altitude in the atmosphere. Earth’s atmosphere can be mainly divided into five layers; the process of differentiating the Earth’s atmosphere and its representation is called ‘Atmospheric Stratification’. The five main layers present in Earth’s atmosphere as we move farther up from the ground, in that order are as follows:

  • Troposphere: 0 to 12 km

  • Stratosphere: 12 to 50 km

  • Mesosphere: 50 to 80 km

  • Thermosphere: 80 to 700 km

  • Exosphere: 700 to 10,000 km

Earth’s atmosphere consists of a number of layers with varying composition, temperature, and pressure. The nearest layer to Earth's surface is the troposphere, which extends from the surface to the bottom of the stratosphere. The troposphere is the layer within which the Earth's terrestrial weather develops. The depth of this layer varies from 0 to 12 km from the Earth’s surface. The stratosphere, extending from the top of the troposphere to the bottom of the mesosphere, contains the ozone layer. The ozone layer lies within the stratosphere and ranges in altitude between 15 and 35 km and is where most of the ultraviolet radiation from the Sun is filtered before reaching the earth’s surface. The top of the mesosphere ranges from 50 to 80 km and is the layer where most meteors burn up. The thermosphere extends from 80 km to the base of the exosphere to 700 km and contains the ionosphere, a region where the atmosphere is ionized by incoming solar radiation. The Karman line, located within the thermosphere, is used to define the boundary between the Earth's atmosphere and outer space. The exosphere begins from about 700 to 10,000 km above the surface, where it interacts with the planet's magnetosphere.

The Ozone layer is continuously being penetrated as an outcome of increasing air pollution. Thus, exposing us to the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that cause skin cancer. With reference to an updated weather forecast, the penetrations in the ozone layer are found to be recovering. The atmosphere is an essential part of a sustainable environment, so it’s our moral duty to maintain the ecological balance and sustainability of the environment.






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