Atmosphere - Short Essay

Topics: Atmosphere, Earth, Oxygen Pages: 2 (677 words) Published: January 31, 2013
 atmosphere of Earth is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation. A. Nitrogen - 78% - Dilutes oxygen and prevents rapid burning at the earth's surface. Living things need it to make proteins. Nitrogen cannot be used directly from the air. The Nitrogen Cycle is nature's way of supplying the needed nitrogen for living things.  B. Oxygen - 21% - Used by all living things. Essential for respiration. It is necessary for combustion or burning.  C. Argon - 0.9% - Used in light bulbs. 

D. Carbon Dioxide - 0.03% - Plants use it to make oxygen. Acts as a blanket and prevents the escape of heat into outer space. Scientists are afraid that the buring of fossil fuels such as coal and oil are adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.  E. Water Vapor - 0.0 to 4.0% - Essential for life processes. Also prevents heat loss from the earth.  F. Trace gases - gases found only in very small amounts. They include neon, helium, krypton, and xenon. Layers of Atmosphere

This is the layer of the atmosphere closest to the Earth's surface, extending up to about 10-15 km above the Earth's surface. It contains 75% of the atmosphere's mass. The troposphere is wider at the equator than at the poles. Temperature and pressure drops as you go higher up the troposphere. Q: Why is the troposphere wider at the equator than at the poles?

The Tropopause: At the very top of the troposphere is the tropopause where the temperature reaches a (stable) minimum. Some scientists call the tropopause a "thermal layer" or "cold trap" because this is a point where rising water vapour cannot go higher because it changes into ice and is trapped. If there is no cold trap, Earth would loose all its water! Most of what we call weather occurs in the troposphere. The uneven heating of the regions of the troposphere by the Sun causes convection currents and winds. Warm air from...
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