23 terms

Structure of the Atmosphere

STUDY
PLAY

Terms in this set (...)

Atmosphere
a thin layer of gasses surrounding the Earth.
Water vapor
water in its gaseous form. Percentage of this gas depends on humidity levels.
Nitrogen
Makes up 78% of Earth's atmosphere
Oxygen
Makes up 21% of Earth's atmosphere and is a product of photosynthesis.
Troposphere
The layer of the atmosphere closest to Earth. It is the only layer of the atmosphere that contains a mixture of gases that supports life on Earth. Temperatures are warmest at low altitudes, in part because Earth's surface absorbs solar radiation and transfers it to the surrounding air.
Stratosphere
2nd layer of Earth's atmosphere. Contains the ozone layer. Temperature increases with increasing altitude.
Ozone layer
A high concentration of ozone molecules that absorb Ultra Violet radiation. Found in the Stratosphere
ionosphere
Region within thermosphere that contains ions. Glows when hit with the solar wind.
Mesosphere
3rd layer of Earth's atmosphere. Extends to 85 km above Earth. Temperature decreases with altitude. Most small meteors burn up here.
Thermosphere
4th layer of Earth's atmosphere. Extends to 500 km above Earth. Temperature increases with altitude. Large meteors burn up here. Contains a small amount of particles.
Exosphere
The furthest atmospheric layer from the Earth. Individual gas molecules rarely strike each other. Has no defined edge.
Air pressure
Weight of a column of air caused by Earth's gravity pulling on gases. Always decreases with altitude.
Air Temperature
A measure of the average kinetic energy of gas particles. Changes in this variable are used to separate Earth's layers.
Carbon Dioxide
A greenhouse gas that makes up .035-.04% of Earth's atmosphere. Levels in this gas affect global temperatures.
CFC's
These chemicals are known to breakdown the ozone found in the stratosphere
Hydrogen and Helium gases
These gases were the main component of the early atmosphere (4.2 billion years ago)
radiosonde
A small, lightweight box equipped with weather instruments. When attached to a weather balloon, this can record information about the atmosphere
Weather
the condition of the atmosphere at any particular time and place
climate
the average weather of a particular region
anticyclone
another name for a High Pressure System
cyclone
another name for a Low Pressure System
temperature inversion
temperature pattern reverses from decreasing temp to increasing temp or vice versa
lapse rate
the rate at which the air temperature decreases with height in the atmosphere

Flickr Creative Commons Images

Some images used in this set are licensed under the Creative Commons through Flickr.com.
Click to see the original works with their full license.