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Characteristics of Earth’s Atmosphere

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Seth Andrews

on 18 March 2014

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Transcript of Characteristics of Earth’s Atmosphere

What does the atmosphere and this object share in common?
Characteristics of Earth’s Atmosphere
mix of gases that surround Earth
Insulates the Earth’s surface
Contains oxygen that we need to survive
Protects from harmful rays of the sun
Always changing


Nitrogen (78%):
Produced by volcanic eruptions and
dead/decaying plants and animals

Oxygen (21%):
Produced by plants

Other (1%)
Argon, carbon dioxide, water vapor, etc.

What is the atmosphere?

What is the composition of the
Characteristics of the Atmosphere

measure of force which air
molecules push on a surface

gravity pulls gas molecules
toward Earth giving it weight

What is air pressure?

Why does air have
weight and pressure?

Hot air expands (less dense)
Cold air contracts (more dense)
Its density can change with temperature

Less dense, hot air rises = low pressure
More dense, cold air sinks = high pressure
Air travels from areas of high to low pressure

Height of an object above the Earth’s surface
As altitude increases, air pressure decreases

How does temperature
affect air?

How does air move?

What is altitude?
Pressure and Temperature
16 km thick
touches Earth’s surface
Where people live
Most dense layer
Planes travel here
Where the water cycle occurs
Contains: carbon dioxide, water vapor, clouds, air pollution, life forms

What is the
Layers of the Atmosphere

35 km thick
Air thins
Very little moisture
Lower part of this layer is very cold
Ozone layer
Weather balloons
Supersonic military jets

What is the
Layers of the Atmosphere
Molecule made up of 3 oxygen atoms
Almost all ozone on Earth is in the Stratosphere
Absorbs solar energy in the form of ultraviolet radiation (UV) by absorbing these rays.
Protects life on Earth’s surface
What is the
Ozone Layer?
Layers of the Atmosphere

What is the
30 km thick
Coldest layer
Very strong winds
Meteors burn up
in this layer

Layers of the Atmosphere
520 km thick
Uppermost layer of the atmosphere
Gases absorb solar radiation and temperatures can reach 1,700 degrees Celcius, but would not feel hot
Aurora (northern & southern lights) occur here (in the Ionosphere)
Space shuttle is here when in orbit
What is the
Layers of the Atmosphere
Layers of the Atmosphere

What is the
Over 20,000 km thick
The transition zone from Earth’s atmosphere to outer space
Satellites are found here
Full transcript