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    which layer of the atmosphere is air pressure the lowest?


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    Layers of Earth's Atmosphere

    Layers of Earth's atmosphere: troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere and exosphere.

    Layers of Earth's Atmosphere

    Earth's atmosphere has a series of layers, each with its own specific traits. Moving upward from ground level, these layers are called the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere. The exosphere gradually fades away into the realm of interplanetary space.

    Layers of the atmosphere: troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere and thermosphere.

    UCAR/Randy Russell


    The troposphere is the lowest layer of our atmosphere. Starting at ground level, it extends upward to about 10 km (6.2 miles or about 33,000 feet) above sea level. We humans live in the troposphere, and nearly all weather occurs in this lowest layer. Most clouds appear here, mainly because 99% of the water vapor in the atmosphere is found in the troposphere. Air pressure drops, and temperatures get colder, as you climb higher in the troposphere.


    The next layer up is called the stratosphere. The stratosphere extends from the top of the troposphere to about 50 km (31 miles) above the ground. The infamous ozone layer is found within the stratosphere. Ozone molecules in this layer absorb high-energy ultraviolet (UV) light from the Sun, converting the UV energy into heat. Unlike the troposphere, the stratosphere actually gets warmer the higher you go! That trend of rising temperatures with altitude means that air in the stratosphere lacks the turbulence and updrafts of the troposphere beneath. Commercial passenger jets fly in the lower stratosphere, partly because this less-turbulent layer provides a smoother ride. The jet stream flows near the border between the troposphere and the stratosphere.


    Above the stratosphere is the mesosphere. It extends upward to a height of about 85 km (53 miles) above our planet. Most meteors burn up in the mesosphere. Unlike the stratosphere, temperatures once again grow colder as you rise up through the mesosphere. The coldest temperatures in Earth's atmosphere, about -90° C (-130° F), are found near the top of this layer. The air in the mesosphere is far too thin to breathe (the air pressure at the bottom of the layer is well below 1% of the pressure at sea level and continues dropping as you go higher).


    The layer of very rare air above the mesosphere is called the thermosphere. High-energy X-rays and UV radiation from the Sun are absorbed in the thermosphere, raising its temperature to hundreds or at times thousands of degrees. However, the air in this layer is so thin that it would feel freezing cold to us! In many ways, the thermosphere is more like outer space than a part of the atmosphere. Many satellites actually orbit Earth within the thermosphere! Variations in the amount of energy coming from the Sun exert a powerful influence on both the height of the top of this layer and the temperature within it. Because of this, the top of the thermosphere can be found anywhere between 500 and 1,000 km (311 to 621 miles) above the ground. Temperatures in the upper thermosphere can range from about 500° C (932° F) to 2,000° C (3,632° F) or higher. The aurora, the Northern Lights and Southern Lights, occur in the thermosphere.


    Although some experts consider the thermosphere to be the uppermost layer of our atmosphere, others consider the exosphere to be the actual "final frontier" of Earth's gaseous envelope. As you might imagine, the "air" in the exosphere is very, very, very thin, making this layer even more space-like than the thermosphere. In fact, the air in the exosphere is constantly - though very gradually - "leaking" out of Earth's atmosphere into outer space. There is no clear-cut upper boundary where the exosphere finally fades away into space. Different definitions place the top of the exosphere somewhere between 100,000 km (62,000 miles) and 190,000 km (120,000 miles) above the surface of Earth. The latter value is about halfway to the Moon!


    The ionosphere is not a distinct layer like the others mentioned above. Instead, the ionosphere is a series of regions in parts of the mesosphere and thermosphere where high-energy radiation from the Sun has knocked electrons loose from their parent atoms and molecules. The electrically charged atoms and molecules that are formed in this way are called ions, giving the ionosphere its name and endowing this region with some special properties.

    © 2015 UCAR


    Earth's Atmosphere (overview)

    Troposphere Stratosphere Mesosphere Thermosphere Exosphere Ionosphere


    Virtual Ballooning Simulation

    Change in the Atmosphere with Altitude

    Source : scied.ucar.edu

    Which of the following layers of the atmosphere will have the lowest pressure?

    Which of the following layers of the atmosphere will have the lowest pressure?

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    Which of the following layers of the atmosphere will have the lowest pressure?


    Which of the following layers of the atmosphere will have the lowest pressure?

    A Thermosphere B Stratosphere C Exosphere D Mesosphere Solution

    The correct option is C


    The Exosphere has the lowest pressure because pressure drops as altitude increases. This is due to the

    atmospheric air being pulled towards the surface of the earth due to gravity. Which means air density is less as you go

    up because there is lesser and lesser air mass above you. Air density & air pressure are directly related because as density goes

    down pressure goes down too and vice versa.

    Competitive Exams Suggest Corrections 0


    Q. Where is the ozone layer found?

    (a) troposphere (b) thermosphere (c) exosphere (d) stratosphere

    ScienceActive ScienceStandard VI

    Q. Match List I(Layers of Atmosphere) and List II(Characteristics) and select the answer using the code given below:

    List I (Layer of Atmosphere) List II(Characteristics)

    (A) Ionosphere (I) Contains Ozone

    (B) Stratosphere (II) Reflects radio waves

    (C) Exosphere (III) Fall in temperature

    (D) Tropsphere (IV) Extremely low air density

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    Q. A particle executing SHM is described by the displacement function

    x ( t ) = A c o s ( ω t + ϕ ) , If the initial at ( t = 0 )

    position of the particle is

    1 c m ,

    its initial velocity is

    π c m s − 1

    and its angular frequency is

    π r a d s − 1 ,

    then the amplitude of its motion is:


    Q. Acid rain is caused by _____ .

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    Source : byjus.com

    Layers of the Atmosphere

    Layers of the Atmosphere

    The atmosphere is layered, corresponding with how the atmosphere’s temperature changes with altitude. By understanding the way temperature changes with altitude, we can learn a lot about how the atmosphere works. While weather takes place in the lower atmosphere, interesting things, such as the beautiful aurora, happen higher in the atmosphere.Why does warm air rise? Gas molecules are able to move freely and if they are uncontained, as they are in the atmosphere, they can take up more or less space.

    When gas molecules are cool, they are sluggish and do not take up as much space. With the same number of molecules in less space, both air density and air pressure are higher.

    When gas molecules are warm, they move vigorously and take up more space. Air density and air pressure are lower.

    Warmer, lighter air is more buoyant than the cooler air above it, so it rises. The cooler air then sinks down, because it is denser than the air beneath it. This is convection, which was described in the Plate Tectonics chapter.

    The property that changes most strikingly with altitude is air temperature. Unlike the change in pressure and density, which decrease with altitude, changes in air temperature are not regular. A change in temperature with distance is called a temperature gradient.

    The atmosphere is divided into layers based on how the temperature in that layer changes with altitude, the layer’s temperature gradient. The temperature gradient of each layer is different. In some layers, temperature increases with altitude and in others it decreases. The temperature gradient in each layer is determined by the heat source of the layer. Most of the important processes of the atmosphere take place in the lowest two layers: the troposphere and the stratosphere.


    The temperature of the troposphere is highest near the surface of the Earth and decreases with altitude. On average, the temperature gradient of the troposphere is 6.5o ºC per 1,000 m (3.6o ºF per 1,000 ft.) of altitude. What is the source of heat for the troposphere?

    Earth’s surface is a major source of heat for the troposphere, although nearly all of that heat comes from the Sun. Rock, soil, and water on Earth absorb the Sun’s light and radiate it back into the atmosphere as heat. The temperature is also higher near the surface because of the greater density of gases. The higher gravity causes the temperature to rise.

    Notice that in the troposphere warmer air is beneath cooler air. What do you think the consequence of this is? This condition is unstable. The warm air near the surface rises and cool air higher in the troposphere sinks. So air in the troposphere does a lot of mixing. This mixing causes the temperature gradient to vary with time and place. The rising and sinking of air in the troposphere means that all of the planet’s weather takes place in the troposphere.

    Sometimes there is a temperature inversion, air temperature in the troposphere increases with altitude and warm air sits over cold air. Inversions are very stable and may last for several days or even weeks. They form:

    Over land at night or in winter when the ground is cold. The cold ground cools the air that sits above it, making this low layer of air denser than the air above it.

    Near the coast where cold seawater cools the air above it. When that denser air moves inland, it slides beneath the warmer air over the land.

    Since temperature inversions are stable, they often trap pollutants and produce unhealthy air conditions in cities. At the top of the troposphere is a thin layer in which the temperature does not change with height. This means that the cooler, denser air of the troposphere is trapped beneath the warmer, less dense air of the stratosphere. Air from the troposphere and stratosphere rarely mix.


    Ash and gas from a large volcanic eruption may burst into the stratosphere, the layer above the troposphere. Once in the stratosphere, it remains suspended there for many years because there is so little mixing between the two layers. Pilots like to fly in the lower portions of the stratosphere because there is little air turbulence.

    In the stratosphere, temperature increases with altitude. What is the heat source for the stratosphere? The direct heat source for the stratosphere is the Sun. Air in the stratosphere is stable because warmer, less dense air sits over cooler, denser air. As a result, there is little mixing of air within the layer.

    The ozone layer is found within the stratosphere between 15 to 30 km (9 to 19 miles) altitude. The thickness of the ozone layer varies by the season and also by latitude. The ozone layer is extremely important because ozone gas in the stratosphere absorbs most of the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Because of this, the ozone layer protects life on Earth. High-energy UV light penetrates cells and damages DNA, leading to cell death (which we know as a bad sunburn). Organisms on Earth are not adapted to heavy UV exposure, which kills or damages them. Without the ozone layer to reflect UVC and UVB radiation, most complex life on Earth would not survive long.

    Source : courses.lumenlearning.com

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