Learn more. Their atmospheres are almost entirely hydrogen and helium. National Geographic Headquarters The atmosphere is so spread out that we barely notice it, yet its weight is equal to a layer of water more than 10 meters (34 feet) deep covering the entire planet. Gas molecules are in constant, random motion. Beyond the exosphere is outer space. The atmosphere is made up of mostly nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (21%). a gas (NH3) important to food production. This is where the International Space Station orbits. electrical discharge in the upper atmosphere, usually above thunderhead clouds. lowest level of the exosphere layer of Earth's atmosphere. system or business that provides air transportation. Heat is created when molecules get excited and transfer energy from one molecule to another. (singular: phenomenon) any observable occurrence or feature. type of rock that has crashed into Earth from outside the atmosphere. In a terrestrial ecosystem, examples might include temperature, light, and water. atmosphere The atmosphere in the conference room was tense. In solar storms particles are flung through space from explosive events on the sun, such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs).Solar storms can squeeze the exosphere to just 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) above the Earth. It differs from climate, which is all weather conditions for a particular location averaged over about 30 years. The atmosphere protects life on earth by shielding it from incoming ultraviolet (UV) radiation, keeping the planet warm through insulation, and preventing extremes between day and night temperatures. Our atmosphere is the layers of gases surrounding the earth. Earth’s atmosphere is composed of about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and one percent other gases. Most shooting stars are the size of a grain of sand and burn up before entering the stratosphere or troposphere. all weather conditions for a given location over a period of time. The atmosphere of Earth protects life on Earth by creating pressure allowing for liquid water to exist on the Earth's surface, absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention (greenhouse effect), and reducing temperature extremes between day and night (the diurnal temperature variation). Earth's atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.9% argon, and 0.03% carbon dioxide with very small percentages of other elements. imaginary line around the Earth, another planet, or star running east-west, 0 degrees latitude. person who studies patterns and changes in Earth's atmosphere. This signifies a shift from a reducing atmosphere to an oxidizing atmosphere. Learn more about abiotic factors with this curated resource collection. Temperatures in the thermosphere can rise to 1,500 degrees Celsius (2,732 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1,773 kelvin). Saturn - Saturn - The atmosphere: Viewed from Earth, Saturn has an overall hazy yellow-brown appearance. The third atmosphere came into play when the planet began to stretch its legs, so to speak. Venus’ atmosphere is much thicker than Earth’s, preventing a clear view of the planet. outer layer of the Earth's atmosphere, 80-400 kilometers (50-250 miles) above the surface. The region within the stratosphere where this thin shell of ozone is found is called the ozone layer. (Emissions of Light and Very low-frequency perturbations from Electromagnetic pulse Sources) halo-shaped electrical discharge in the upper atmosphere, usually appearing above sprites. Climate describes the average weather conditions of a particular place over a 30 year period . Like all other parts of the atmosphere, these layers vary with season and latitude. a large volume of air that is mostly consistent, horizontally, in temperature and humidity. Called the geocorona, it is the fuzzy blue illumination that circles the Earth.Extraterrestrial AtmospheresAll the planets in our solar system have atmospheres. The amount of ozone in the Earth’s atmosphere is declining steadily. chemical element with the symbol N, whose gas form is 78% of the Earth's atmosphere. These chemicals include hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon. Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. When the sun is calm, the exosphere can extend 10,000 kilometers (6,214 miles).Hydrogen, the lightest element in the universe, dominates the thin atmosphere of the exosphere. The lower part of the exosphere includes low-Earth orbit, while medium-Earth orbit is higher in the atmosphere. The atmosphere consists of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 1% water vapor, and a minute amount of other trace gases like argon, and carbon monoxide. greenhouse gas produced by animals during respiration and used by plants during photosynthesis. Also called an astronomical object. The atmosphere is the blanket of gases which surrounds Earth. organism that can produce its own food and nutrients from chemicals in the atmosphere, usually through photosynthesis or chemosynthesis. In clear weather, you can sometimes see them as silvery wisps immediately after sunset. The mass of the atmosphere is around 5×1018kg. outermost layer of Earth's atmosphere, beginning at an altitude of about 550 kilometers (341 miles) above the Earth's surface. Free oxygen did not exist until about 1.7 billion years ago and this can be seen with the development of the red beds and the end of the banded iron formations. This is why mountaintops are usually much colder than the valleys beneath. powerful light waves that are too short for humans to see, but can penetrate Earth's atmosphere. Diane Boudreau All places on earth have their own climates. The elements are organized by their atomic number in the periodic table, which highlights elements with similar properties. brightly colored bands of light, visible around Earth's geomagnetic poles, caused by solar wind interacting with particles in Earth's magnetic field. large body of salt water that covers most of the Earth. Sounding rockets have provided meteorologists and astronomers their only significant data on this important part of the atmosphere. Marconi’s experiment demonstrated that radio signals did not travel in a straight line, but bounced off an atmospheric layer—the ionosphere.The ionosphere is broken into distinct layers, called the D, E, F1, and F2 layers. We depend on plants for oxygen production and food. Start studying What is the Atmosphere?. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. atmosphere synonyms, atmosphere pronunciation, atmosphere translation, English dictionary definition of atmosphere. High above the planet, the atmosphere becomes thinner until it gradually reaches space. fluctuating area of the upper atmosphere between the thermosphere and the exosphere. GPS satellites, for instance, are in orbit more than 20,000 kilometers (12,400 miles) above the Earth. The effects of reentry can be felt at 120 km. Thin air is also why helicopters have difficulty maneuvering at high altitudes. smallest physical unit of a substance, consisting of two or more atoms linked together. distance north or south of the Equator, measured in degrees. fuzzy blue layer of hydrogen surrounding the Earth at the upper boundary of the exosphere. Water is an example of a compound, a mixture of two or more elements, and is created when two hydrogen atoms bond to an oxygen atom. NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory: Rivers in the Atmosphere, National Geographic Science: Earth—Earth’s Atmosphere. The Brief Overview Earth's atmosphere is a jacket of gases that surrounds our planet. Air masses, areas of high-pressure and low-pressure systems, are moved by winds in the troposphere. chemical element with the symbol H, whose most common isotope consists of a single electron and a single proton. The mesosphere also has the atmosphere’s highest clouds. Atmosphere, the gas and aerosol envelope that extends from the ocean, land, and ice-covered surface of a planet outward into space. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. The gases surrounding the earth are kept in place by the force of gravity. The greenhouse effect is necessary for life on Earth. What are these seasonal winds known as? period of the year distinguished by special climatic conditions. Ions are created as powerful x-rays and UV rays knock electrons off atoms.The ionosphere—a layer of free electrons and ions—reflects radio waves. The stratosphere is crucial to life on Earth because it contains small amounts of ozone, a form of oxygen that prevents harmful UV rays from reaching Earth. These layers are the following: Troposphere: It is the lower layer, located in the first 6 to 20 kilometers high. Without the atmosphere there could be no life on Earth. process by which plants turn water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide into water, oxygen, and simple sugars. Low-pressure systems are often associated with storms. toxic chemical made of hydrogen, sulfur, and oxygen. We live at the bottom of an invisible ocean called the atmosphere, a layer of gases surrounding our planet. Jet streams are extremely important to the airline industry. Earth’s atmosphere is so much more than the air we breathe. highest spot on Earth, approximately 8,850 meters (29,035 feet). rocky debris from space that enters Earth's atmosphere. an opening in the Earth's crust, through which lava, ash, and gases erupt, and also the cone built by eruptions. It is because of the heat created by the friction of the atmosphere that the space shuttle had to be equipped with a heat shield to prevent it from burning up as it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere. All living things need some of the gases in air for life support. Weather is influenced by latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography. Free oxygen consists of oxygen molecules not attached to another element, like carbon (to form carbon dioxide) or hydrogen (to form water). weather system that rotates around a center of low pressure and includes thunderstorms and rain. One of the main components of Earth’s interdependent physical systems is the atmosphere. chemical element with the symbol O, whose gas form is 21% of the Earth's atmosphere. The atmosphere of Venus is too thick—the planet's surface temperature is more than 460 degrees Celsius (860 degrees Fahrenheit).Jupiter's moon Europa has a thin atmosphere rich with oxygen. On average, the troposphere extends from the ground to about 10 kilometers (6 miles) high, ranging from about 6 kilometers (4 miles) at the poles to more than 16 kilometers (10 miles) at the Equator. Also called a Jovian planet. repeating or predictable changes in the Earth's atmosphere, such as winds, precipitation, and temperatures. 1145 17th Street NW Each layer has its own extreme north or south point of the Earth's axis. StratosphereThe troposphere tends to change suddenly and violently, but the stratosphere is calm. Weather is the state of the atmosphere, including temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation, and cloud cover. Carbon dioxide is also the byproduct of burning fossil fuels. Aircraft save time and money by flying in jet streams instead of the lower troposphere, where air is thicker. vehicle able to travel and operate above the ground. Changes in the ionosphere actually happen on a daily basis. Most of these atmospheres are radically different from Earth’s, although they contain many of the same elements. region in Earth's atmosphere between the stratosphere and the thermosphere, about 50-80 kilometers (31-50 miles) above the Earth's surface. Different from weather events, which are short-term and temporary phenomenon, climates are usually steady and predictable, and shape how organisms and human civilizations evolve and adapt in any given region. These primary producers form the base of an ecosystem and fuel the next trophic levels. pearly, or resembling the inside of a shell. path of one object around a more massive object. In a marine ecosystem, abiotic factors would include salinity and ocean currents. At night it looks black. Mercury’s atmosphere contains only a thin exosphere dominated by hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. Explore weather and its impacts with this curated collection of classroom resources. The troposphere begins at the surface and extends to between 7 km at the poles and 17 km at the equator, with some variation due to weather. Kara West. The magnetosphere, formed by the Earths magnetic fields, protects the atmosphere by preventing it from being blown away by powerful solar wind. Explore the world's climates and how they affect local regions and the planet with this curated collection of resources. The exosphere expands and contracts as it comes into contact with solar storms. This atmospheric layer conducts electricity.The ionosphere is named for ions created by energetic particles from sunlight and outer space. Most meteors burn up in this zone of the atmosphere. container, usually shaped like a long tube. Also called a meteor. Mount Everest is part of the Himalaya and straddles the border of Nepal and China. When you reach out to him or her, you will need the page title, URL, and the date you accessed the resource. unit of measurement (abbreviated m) determined by an object's resistance to change in the speed or direction of motion. Our atmosphere also contains water vapor. The atmosphere is also responsible for the aurora borealis. 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